Competitors pacesetters Essendon survived a scare from Richmond, dropping the lead in the last quarter prior to finishing strongly to win their AFL round-eight clash by 19 points on Saturday night.
A crowd of 80,900 packed into the MCG to watch the eighth yearly Dreamtime game, which is the highlight of the AFL’s indigenous-themed round.
Right after blowing a 42-point lead, the Bombers kicked the last three ambitions to win 19.14 (128) to 15.19 (109).
Essendon’s win-loss ratio now stands at 7-1 although for the Tigers (three-5) this was 1 that got away.
Patrick Ryder kicked four goals for the Bombers although midfielder Jobe Watson was prominent with 30 possessions and two targets.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick stated his players were exhausted and lacked composure at times.
“When you come from that far back, we have been down 35 factors at half time, it really is always going to be an huge struggle,” he mentioned.
“We just ran out of legs at the finish. The guys battled manfully in the 2nd half.”
Essendon coach James Hird mentioned he was rapt with the way his side fought back.
“Everyone at the ground believed we were gone when Richmond hit the lead,” Hird stated.
“They’re very good wins to have, when you get headed and doubt creeps into the boys’ minds and they get out and play that type of footy as they did in the final 10 minutes.”
Richmond’s Brett Deledio was awarded the medal for best-afield after gathering a game-large 35 possessions, 10 tackles and seven within-50s.
Trent Cotchin (29 possessions) and Shane Edwards booted 3 ambitions every for the Tigers and onballer Shaun Grigg was another robust contributor.
Cale Hooker held Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt to one goal even though Hird was pleased with essential forward Michael Hurley’s initial game back from a hamstring injury, with 18 possessions at centre half-forward.
Essendon booted six objectives in the opening phrase and six more in the second quarter to hold a 35-point benefit at halftime.
Dylan Grimes suffered a hamstring injury and was substituted off in the second phrase, unbalancing the Tigers’ defence.
Ryder’s fourth aim early in the 2nd half gave Essendon a 42-point benefit before Richmond gained some momentum with a 5.8 third term to Essendon’s 4.two.
Essendon also had to reshuffle their defence as Dustin Fletcher was troubled by a groin injury and was substituted off for Nathan Lovett-Murray.
The Tigers’ surge came via an improved functionality in midfield, although a target to Ben Howlett in the last minute of the term gave the Bombers a 23-point break at three-quarter time.
Richmond scored the first four ambitions of the last phrase to snatch the lead in the 12th minute.
But fast goals to Lovett-Murray and Angus Monfries put the Bombers ahead by 10 factors and Alwyn Davey booted his 2nd to seal the result for the Bombers.
The Tigers dominated the within-50 count 66-48 and had much more scoring shots but suffered through a number of near misses in the last phrase.