PUT THOSE September plans on hold, Richmond fans, finals are back on the menu.
The Tigers relished slippery conditions after half-time in its round 20 clash against Port Adelaide, piling on 7.4 in the third quarter as they galloped away to a 38-point win at Adelaide Oval.
Tom Lynch kicked three goals in the 'premiership quarter' before Aliir Aliir relieved an undersized Trent McKenzie, as Dion Prestia (32 disposals, 10 clearances) and a vintage Trent Cotchin (32 and six) wrested control in the clearances to help the Tigers to a 16.13 (109) to 10.11 (71) win.
POWER v TIGERS Full match coverage and stats
At half-time, it looked as if the game was heading to a usual Port Adelaide-Richmond struggle, with Charlie Dixon and Jeremy Finlayson proving a handful up forward despite limited opportunities.
Ollie Wines (32 for the match), Travis Boak (27 and eight clearances) and Zak Butters had plenty of the footy and the Tigers were wasting opportunities in attack, although Shai Bolton had kicked two crucial goals – one after the quarter-time siren and the second a typically elusive snap just before the main break.
Port Adelaide had appeared to kick into gear at the start of the third.
Miles Bergman's high snap goal came in the first 27 seconds, as man mountain Dixon landed heavily on Nick Vlastuin in a marking contest, ruling the tough Tiger and key interceptor out for the remainder of the game.
IN THEIR OWN HANDS 'Every game is an elimination final' for Tigers, defender in doubt
Cotchin had other ideas, continuing his recent strong form with a fierce attack on the footy, while Prestia combined beautifully with Toby Nankervis (42 hitouts, 29 disposals), who took advantage of his experience over second-gamer Brynn Teakle.
Lynch and Bolton subsequently feasted, with Jack Riewoldt also chipping in with an impressive contested mark running back with the flight.
As they have done so many times this year, the Power kept their heads and fought out the final quarter well, stemming the flow of Tiger goals, but were unable to make a decent impact on the scoreboard.
Daniel Rioli – almost playing as a third winger, such was the amount of ground he covered out of defence – kicked two goals in the first half and was a key driver up the ground.
Connor Rozee received some treatment for a sprained left knee after getting his leg caught underneath him, but played out the game, taking a soaring hanger in the goal-square in the final term.
Kamdyn McIntosh will come under MRO scrutiny for a clumsy spoil on Darcy Byrne-Jones in the fourth term, which left the Port defender groggy.
Port short on talls
Perhaps anticipating the rain which came in the third term, Port Adelaide went with just three talls, Dixon, Finlayson and second-game ruck Brynn Teakle. Todd Marshall was unavailable due to health and safety protocols, while Mitch Georgiades was dropped. The Power took just four marks inside 50 to half-time and six for the game, while the Tigers took 15. They struggled to find a linking player moving the ball out of defence.
Tigers backline injury woes
Vlastuin was incredibly stiff and sore after coming off second-best standing in Dixon's path. While the Tigers' midfield dominance helped protect the young backline in the second half, the potential loss of Vlastuin – on top of that of fellow defensive general Grimes earlier this week – is a concern heading into finals.
Provoke Pickett at your peril
It was a quietish night for the normally industrious Marlion Pickett, but he provided a fourth-quarter highlight when having a shot for goal tight on the boundary. Receiving a considerable level of advice from the crowd, Pickett slotted the set shot without even entering the field of play. He promptly pointed out the loudest Port Adelaide fan and put his finger to his lips, while the fan sat down, shaking his head and grinning from ear to ear.
PORT ADELAIDE 3.1 6.4 9.6 10.11 (71)
RICHMOND 4.4 7.6 14.10 16.13 (109)
Port Adelaide: Dixon 2, Finlayson 2, Duursma, Gray, Burgoyne, Bergman, Butters, Rozee
Richmond: Lynch 4, Bolton 4, D. Rioli 2, Cumberland 2, Ross, M. Rioli, Riewoldt, Pickett
Port Adelaide: Wines, Boak, Dixon, Houston, Finlayson
Richmond: Cotchin, Prestia, Bolton, D.Rioli, Lynch, Nankervis
Port Adelaide: Rozee (knee)
Richmond: Vlastuin (ribs)
Port Adelaide: Riley Bonner (unused)
Richmond: Jason Castagna (replaced Vlastuin in the third quarter)