1. Tigers wreck the purple party
Richmond didn’t just ruin Freo’s night, they ruined what had been a perfect start to the season. It was to have been a match which completed the home side’s best-ever winning streak, making them just the 13th team in VFL/AFL history to start the season with 10 consecutive victories. Only two of those previous 12 teams had missed the Grand Final and Dockers supporters were banking on a 10th win being a good omen. But Richmond was up and about from the start and were clinical with their delivery in the first term, taking 26 marks to 10 and gathering 97 disposals to Fremantle’s 68. The purple army that packed Domain Stadium was left wondering whether this was the recession that Fremantle had to have.
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2. Records re-written in yellow and black
Fremantle supporters have become accustomed to winning tight contests under Ross Lyon. So Richmond’s barnstorming start to the game came as a complete surprise, and the Tigers challenged all sorts of records. First, and foremost, it was the best first-quarter score against Fremantle during Lyon’s time as coach. It was also the best first quarter against Fremantle since Geelong overwhelmed the Dockers in the opening stanza of the 2010 semi-final at the MCG. Finally, it was only the second time in Ross Lyon’s nine-year coaching career that his side had given up eight goals in the first quarter. The only other time it happened was in early 2011 when Essendon kicked 8.2 in the first quarter against Lyon’s Saints.
3. Sandi makes his own mark
Last week, Aaron Sandilands broke Gary Dempsey’s VFL/AFL record when he racked up 69 hit-outs against the Crows. Not content with breaking one record, he backed up this week by breaking Sam Jacobs’ record for hit-outs to advantage, which stood at 22 after Jacobs’ brilliant effort against St Kilda in round 23 last year. Sandilands, who had 47 hit-outs in total, hit 13 centre bounces to advantage, seven throw-ins and three ball-ups. But it just didn’t translate on the scoreboard, largely because of Richmond’s pressure on the ball carrier and, generally, a rock solid defence.
4. Tigers or Black Swans?
Richmond’s jumpers are often a talking point in Perth. Last time the Tigers played at Domain Stadium, they ruffled the Eagles’ feathers by forcing the home side to wear an away strip, because their jumpers conflicted with West Coast’s regular home jumper. This time around, the Tigers had an away jumper that looked great and many Fremantle fans might have found themselves absent-mindedly hoping the player in gold got to the ball before the bloke in purple. Why? Well, the gold jumper with black sash was Western Australia’s State of Origin jumper from 1977-1989 – a golden era during which WA beat the Big V on six occasions and won national titles in 1979, 1984 and 1986. The last time this jumper was worn at Domain Stadium was in 2007 when West Coast wore it as a heritage jumper in a defeat to the Brisbane Lions.
The Tigers may have looked like a WA state team but they played with fighting fury. Picture: AFL Media
5. Johnson’s hamstring hurt Fremantle
After triumphantly carrying his children on to Domain Stadium before his 200th game, Michael Johnson took his place in Fremantle’s much-vaunted back line. His first possession came a few minutes later and, as he kicked the ball, he was pushed slightly forward. That was the end of the veteran’s night as he tweaked his right hamstring. It was a tragic end to Johnson’s milestone match and he was visibly upset as he was helped to the bench. Fremantle struggled in his absence. Livewire Hayden Crozier replaced Johnson on the ground, he was not able to make up for Johnson’s experience or his quarterback-like abilities in defence.