Tigers bailed out by exactly who you’d expect
Richmond champion Jack Riewoldt has helped his team survive a final-quarter fright to register an entertaining comeback victory against Adelaide in a performance which might just kickstart the Tigers’ faltering bid for an historic “three-peat”.
The Tigers looked home and hosed when they opened up a 34-point lead late in the third quarter, after trailing by four goals midway through the first term.
But after going back into their shells in the middle two quarters, allowing Richmond to kick 11 of 13 goals during that period, and losing the attacking flair which put them in such a strong position early in the game, the Crows began taking the game on again in the final term.
With nothing to lose after staring down such a huge deficit in the eye at the final break, Adelaide booted the first four goals of the final term to cut the deficit to just nine points at the 15-minute mark.
With the Crows coming home hard and threatening to chalk up an impressive comeback win of their own, Riewoldt sensed the desperation of the occasion and took a leaf out of his famous cousin Nick’s book by taking a stupendously courageous chest mark backing back into a pack with the flight of the ball before converting a crucial set shot.
In fact, he ended up kicking the final three goals of the game to emphatically stamp his authority on the contest.
The Tigers now improve to a 6-5 win-loss record and after making similarly slow starts to the season in each of their last three premiership years, Riewoldt’s game might very well be looked back on as the most pivotal individual performance which sparked the side to finally get its act together in season 2021
In the absence of Tom Lynch, Riewoldt combined with second-gamer Callum Coleman-Jones (four) and fringe inclusion Mabor Chol (two) to ensure Richmond’s makeshift forward structure produced 11 goals.
The Crows were brave in defeat on Sunday. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Tigers regroup impressively
Richmond’s season looked like it was hanging by a thread when the Crows piled on five consecutive goals in 14 minutes to jump out to a 24-point lead in the first term on the way to recording their best quarter-time score in over three years.
But the Tigers composed themselves and began playing the game on their terms as they increased the pressure, sped the pace of the contest up and forced Adelaide to commit regular turnovers by cutting down their decision-making time. They ended up dominating the marks 146-53 and, apart from the early final-quarter burst from the Crows, were able to control the game as a result. Six goals in a row in the third term, including a pair of beauties from Hugo Ralphsmith on tight angles, ultimately made the job too hard for Adelaide.
Coleman-Jones has a cracker
Coleman-Jones had to wait a long time for his second crack at senior level, after making his debut in 2019 and serving his penance for his Covid breach in the Queensland bubble last year. But he played like a man desperate to make amends for that indiscretion and repay the faith. He was a huge reason as to why the Tigers got back in the contest after quarter-time.
The resurgent Taylor Walker produced another stellar performance with a team-high four goals, and he was running particularly hot in the first half, with the highlight a sensational goal early in the second term which he bounced home from 40m out on the boundary line while being pushed over by Noah Balta after accepting the handball from Shane McAdam.
Adelaide misses in second term
Richmond turned the tide dramatically in the second quarter but it could’ve been a different story had Adelaide taken more of their chances in front of goal. Instead, they had to settle for just the one major for the term as Taylor Walker (twice), Riley Thilthorpe, David Mackay and Jimmy Rowe, who kicked it across the face and out on the full from the pocket, all missed gettable shots.
Karma catches up with Murray
After being at the centre of one of the most contentious non-decisions of the year last week when he deliberately handballed the ball out of bounds next to Melbourne’s behind post in the dying stages of Adelaide’s one-point win against the Demons, the umpires made sure Nick Murray wasn’t going to get away with again late in the second quarter. In what looked like a harsh overcorrection, Murray was unfairly pinged for making insufficient intent to keep the ball in play when he charged in at the loose ball in front of Callum Coleman-Jones, sending the ball out off his knee. Coleman-Jones added insult to injury with a magnificent set shot from a sharp angle on the boundary line to give Richmond the halftime lead.
TIGERS 3.1 8.3 14.6 17.9 (111)
CROWS 6.3 7.7 8.9 12.11 (83)
LERNER’S BEST Tigers: Riewoldt, Bolton, Coleman-Jones, Martin, Short, Cotchin, Nankervis. Crows: Walker, Keays, Sloane, O’Brien, Doedee, Fogarty.
GOALS Tigers: Riewoldt 5, Coleman-Jones 4, Chol 2, Ralphsmith 2, Cotchin, Bolton, Graham, Martin. Crows: Walker 4, Fogarty 3, O’Brien, Berry, Thilthorpe, Rowe, Sholl.
INJURIES Tigers: Nil. Crows: Berry (concussion).
UMPIRES Haussen, Hosking, Toner
VENUE Giants Stadium
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
3 J.Riewoldt (Rich)
2 T.Walker (Adel)
1 S.Bolton (Rich)
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