Notes and votes from Liahm O’Brien [@BigSmoove83]
For many onlookers, this game is one that they’re willing to put into the history books as a forgotten four points. If I were sitting at home on the couch, I’d have probably agreed with them. But this was a rare occasion in which I was able to get along to a Tigers game having flown over from the apple isle early Friday morning. When it comes to watching Richmond live, I tend to see the game with rose coloured glasses on – yesterday was no different. I was able to look past the missed field kicks, small crowd and open roof and see this performance favourably.
Given that the ‘hard to watch’ display of last week was fresh in the minds of our supporters, this week was all about the response. It can be said that the scoreboard did not reflect the total tiger dominance during the course of the game. The game really got rolling in the first quarter, where Jack and his mosquito fleet took charge, while our midfield really putting their heads in the hole, firing out disposals from the contested packs and running rampant. The tackling pressure of Butler in particular was quite impressive. Interesting from the first quarter too was the decision to play Nankervis forward, a move that I really liked. He was lively up forward and created a contest when called upon, until he was called to relieve Ivan Soldo in the ruck.
A fast first term was then followed up by a much slower second quarter. The lions had settled into the game and started to wrestle back some momentum, largely due to the performance of Witherden down back. Coupling this with some costly turnovers from our midfield, the Lions were able to get back into the game….and yet, I still felt that we were in control, even if it meant only taking a slender eight point lead into the break. The brick wall built by Astbury and a third game player in Nathan Broad was pivotal to my confidence. Both men out bodied their opponents and on occasion left them to win another contest further afield – a very encouraging sign.
A comfortable 31 point win was set up by a game breaking third quarter. This was when our stars came out to shine. After a reasonably quiet first half, Dustin Martin tore the Brisbane midfield in half with a damaging display of contested football and Cotchin did much the same. To me, though it was Jack that provided the spark with an impressive snap from the pocket to start the third term. Right in front of the cheer squad of all places, this moment set the tone for the rest of the match. He created something out of nothing and his team mates followed suit. Soon after, Rioli would scrap for a ball in the opposite pocket and punched a ball to the advantage of an oncoming Dan Butler for a major. In the last quarter, Trent Cotchin was left two on one at full forward and somehow he was able to win a 20-80 contest which resulted in a team mate cashing in for a goal. To top this off Dan Rioli got amongst the goals himself with an incredible snap from the pocket after dancing and weaving around 3 opponents.
In all, this was a typical Richmond result – we dominated in the midfield against a star studded line up, Jack took apart the best opposition defender with four majors and the backline was again resolute. Yet, we weren’t able to cash in on the scoreboard despite a great level of control. I’d call it a ‘nice response’ to last week’s game. It wasn’t our best performance, but at the same time this was far from the worst game I’ve seen from the club. We did what we had to do to win, nothing more and nothing less. Four points is four points….and on to the next one. On that note, here are my vote getters (honourable mentions to Prestia, Broad, Ellis and Caddy).
5 Jack Riewoldt – an absolute game breaking performance. Jack always looked in control of his man Andrews. Not only did he kick four goals but he brought the mosquito fleet into the action with his competition in the air. Kicked an absolute barn burner to set he tone early in the third term.
4 Dustin Martin – forget the turn overs throughout the first half, this guy was unbelievably good. His clearance work was something to marvel at, beating the entire Brisbane midfield brigade by himself. Capped off a very classy performance with two goals and stood up under very close Nick Robertson (booooooooooooo) ‘attention’.
3 David Astbury – a lot has been made about his season and the player coming of age. This game was could be used to highlight the narrative. His great strength was his contested marking, winning numerous one on one duels. Won a heap of favours with the crowd by flying the flag in testing times – very Tiger-ish.
2 Trent Cotchin – another exceptional game, his role in the midfield was excellent again as highlighted by a great third quarter. Another encouraging sign was the amount of time he was able to play in the forward line. Coming out of the goal square, he looked incredibly potent and his competitive efforts were great – I’m hoping he gets more time inside 50.
1 Dan Butler – his game should be the standard setter for our small forward brigade for the remainder of the season. While he kicked three goals, it was his tally of seven tackles that were a game changer. Played a crucial role in keeping the ball inside our attacking half – I don’t know what the blueprint is for the rising star award, but his 20 goals for the season and near four tackles a game have flown right under the radar of the media.
13: B. Ellis
10: Riewoldt, Lambert
6: Grimes, Nankervis
5: Castagna, Butler
2: Vlastuin, Prestia, Caddy, Menadue
Blair Hartley Appreciation Award:for players who have joined Richmond from another club
(Eligible 2017: Caddy, Grigg, Hampson, Houli, Hunt, Nankervis, Maric, Miles, Prestia and Townsend.)
2: Prestia, Caddy
Anthony Banik Best First Year Player:for anyone who was yet to debut before round 1
(Eligible 2017: Shai Bolton, Dan Butler, Ryan Garthwaite, Jack Graham, Ivan Soldo, Tyson Stengle)
1: Bolton, Stengle
Joel Bowden’s Golden Left Boot:for left footers
(Eligible 2017: Batchelor, Chol, Corey Ellis, Grigg, Nankervis and Houli).
Greg Tivendale Rookie List Medal:
upgraded from the rookie list during the current season
Potentially eligible 2017: Castagna, Chol, Moore, Stengle and Soldo.
Maurice Rioli Grip of Death Trophy:
For the Tiges top tackler