|Brownlow Medal||3 Patrick Cripps (CARL)||2 Alex Rance (RICH)||1 Dustin Martin (RICH)|
Regardless of ladder position, a clash between these traditional rivals is always eagerly anticipated by both sets of supporters and usually hotly contested, and Sunday afternoon’s match was no exception. It was a game that never reached great heights from a purist’s point of view, indeed, as Tiger legend Matthew Richardson noted on 3AW radio, it was “a good game if you like grinding games…I don't”.
Nonetheless, it was a match in the balance for most of the day, before Richmond, which had had the upper hand throughout, pulled away late in the fourth quarter to post a solid 26-point win. Given the number of losses the Tigers have managed to claw from the jaws of victory this season, they’ll take a win no matter how it comes.
Richmond started the game as firm favourites, clinging on to sixth spot, but having won their previous six encounters against the Blues, while the latter was fifteenth, and despite an impressive away win against the Gold Coast last round, are clearly in the rebuilding phase this year.
Thirteen minutes into the game and the Blues were looking good, with two goals to two Matthews—in-form ruckman Kreuzer, and goalsneak, Wright—with the Tigers unable to get into any sort of rhythm. Then came an incident that certainly left the Carlton rotation system off-balance for the duration, a back-swinging elbow on Jed Lamb from the otherwise fair-minded Bachar Houli, that resulted in his being reported and Lamb being sidelined for the rest of the match. To add insult to injury for the Blues, improved Tiger utility Jason Castagna received a free just a minute later and posted his team’s first goal, and backed it up with a second after playing on from a strong mark.
Carlton quickly regained the ascendancy through a free and goal from Levi Casboult followed by a snap by Dale Thomas, and although a characteristic running goal from Brendan Ellis pegged the deficit back to just four points at the first change, the Blues were clearly the better team. While Richmond had ten more inside fifties, poor disposal and general inefficiency marred their play. Carlton, with Kreuzer dominating, had good reason to feel satisfied with their efforts.
The second quarter was anything but pretty, as ‘the grinding’ became even grittier. Just watching the game was hard work, as both sides squandered chances, fumbled, and were unable to gain any momentum. In the end, it was the Tigers, dominating the inside 50 count, that through force of will and a little bit of extra talent, were able to squeeze out two goals and seven behinds to Carlton’s solitary point to lead by 14 points at the long break. Richmond majors came from Jack Riewoldt at the three-minute mark, and Kane Lambert at 20.
Play resumed in the third quarter in a more open style, to the relief of fans, but again it was a term full of frustrations as neither team was able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and make a statement. An early goal to Kreuzer gave hope to Blues fans, but the lack of forward firepower continued to let them the team down, as did a generally stagnate style of play. Richmond, on the other hand, had a lot more running options up forward, but continued failure to capitalise left fans unsatisfied. Nonetheless, the forward pressure that has been the Tigers’ hallmark this season was in evidence, as proven by the ability of the smalls to keep the ball locked inside their forward fifty. That pressure finally paid off at the nine-minute mark when the new ‘crumbing king’, Shai Bolton snapped truly.
The next goal came via a strong overhead mark on the behind post by Martin—just the man Tiger fans were looking for to bust open the game—who then handballed to Riewoldt for a satisfying ‘joe the goose’ goal. A late goal from the powerful marking Casboult gave the Blues a sniff into the final quarter but one sensed that it was the Tigers game to loose, notwithstanding the tight 13-point margin.
After several Carlton behinds early, the Richmond forwards finally got their kicking boots on, first Dan Butler, and then Riewoldt, kicking truly from set shots to steady the ship. With Martin lining up for another, a rash decision to short pass led directly to a turnover and a Charlie Curnow goal at the other end, black and yellow nerves were beginning to jitter, but Carlton simply didn’t have the wherewithal to mount the type of serious late challenge that has unhinged the Tigers this season.
A second goal to Butler was followed by a reply from Cripps, but from then on the momentum was Richmond's, although it took them until late in the quarter to ice the game, at least to their fans’ satisfaction, when Toby Nankervis slotted his first major.
There were no standouts as far as individual performance was concerned, but Martin and Rance were clearly the Tigers' best, with honourable mentions to Houli, Lambert, and Grigg. On the Blue side, Kreuzer was strong all day, as were Cripps and Docherty.
Tiger coach Damian Hardwick summed it up from his team’s perspective: "It was a frustrating game, there's no doubt. What did we have? Nearly 30 scoring shots and just couldn’t quite get the scoreboard reward I thought we deserved. We've played better games but lost, if that makes sense, so it was good to bank the four points and move on," he said.
"They're really hard to play against with that amount of numbers back, so it was a frustrating game, but credit where credit's due, I thought our boys fought their way through it, thought their way through it and we get the four points, so that's a good result. They've been in some pretty good form."
As for Carlton coach Brendan Bolton: "I've said a lot that we want to be defined by pressure and consistency and I thought we were very patchy in both of those areas today. Our defensive transition needed to improve and probably in and around the contest there were far too many broken tackles," he said.
Richmond: Riewoldt 3; Butler, Castagna 2; Ellis, Lambert, Bolton, Nankervis
Carlton: Casboult, Kreuzer 2; Wright, Thomas, C.Curnow, Cripps
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Richmond: Rance, Houli, Martin, Lambert, Castagna, Riewoldt
Carlton: Kreuzer, Cripps, Docherty, Gibbs, Casboult, Jones
BEST - THE AGE
Richmond: Martin, Lambert, Rance, Grigg, Ellis, Houli
Carlton: Cripps, Gibbs, Kreuzer, Simpson, Docherty, Thomas
Carlton: Lamb (concussion), Ed Curnow (knee), Plowman (calf)
REPORTS: Houli (Richmond) for striking Lamb (Carlton) in the first quarter.
UMPIRES: Stevic, Williamson, McInerney
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Seven Network
COMMENTATORS: Brian Taylor, Hamish McLachlan, Leigh Matthews, Jimmy Bartel
|12||Astbury, David||7||6||8||15||0||0||0||2||0||1||26y 119d||73||8|
|29||Bolton, Shai||4||0||0||4||1||0||0||3||1||1||18y 199d||5||3|
|40||Butler, Dan||4||2||4||8||2||0||0||7||1||2||21y 22d||11||13|
|22||Caddy, Josh||8||3||14||22||0||1||2||3||0||2||24y 270d||107||85|
|46||Castagna, Jason||7||4||3||10||2||2||0||4||2||0||20y 348d||18||17|
|9||Cotchin, Trent||11||6||6||17||0||1||0||2||1||1||27y 79d||186||110|
|10||Edwards, Shane||5||3||8||13||0||1||0||1||0||0||28y 243d||195||135|
|5||Ellis, Brandon||13||6||10||23||1||0||0||2||1||1||23y 326d||123||44|
|6||Grigg, Shaun||11||12||15||26||0||1||0||4||1||1||29y 67d||180||86|
|2||Grimes, Dylan||5||3||8||13||0||0||0||3||1||1||25y 344d||92||3|
|14||Houli, Bachar||10||9||18||28||0||1||0||5||1||1||29y 44d||162||35|
|23||Lambert, Kane||12||6||14||26||1||2||0||6||0||0||25y 211d||40||21|
|27||Lloyd, Sam||15||5||6||21||0||0||0||5||2||2||27y 114d||48||62|
|4||Martin, Dustin||18||6||12||30||0||1||0||1||1||2||25y 364d||166||168|
|33||McIntosh, Kamdyn||10||2||3||13||0||0||0||1||1||0||23y 83d||41||8|
|37||Menadue, Connor||10||3||7||17||0||0||0||3||0||0||20y 279d||26||10|
|25||Nankervis, Toby||4||0||5||9||1||0||23||2||2||0||22y 317d||24||8|
|3||Prestia, Dion||7||2||10||17||0||1||0||3||0||2||24y 256d||106||31|
|18||Rance, Alex||8||3||9||17||0||0||0||4||6||0||27y 259d||163||8|
|8||Riewoldt, Jack||11||9||2||13||3||1||0||0||1||2||28y 237d||215||517|
|17||Rioli, Daniel||5||3||4||9||0||2||0||1||1||1||20y 70d||31||25|
|15||Short, Jayden||8||3||9||17||0||0||0||0||0||1||21y 152d||28||7|
|12||Boekhorst, Blaine||4||2||6||10||0||0||0||3||2||0||23y 296d||20||9|
|41||Casboult, Levi||6||7||3||9||2||1||6||0||1||2||27y 102d||85||91|
|9||Cripps, Patrick||13||5||14||27||1||1||0||8||3||5||22y 99d||57||22|
|30||Curnow, Charlie||10||9||6||16||1||0||0||1||0||0||20y 142d||18||12|
|35||Curnow, Ed||7||3||8||15||0||0||0||2||0||0||27y 230d||122||22|
|15||Docherty, Sam||21||11||7||28||0||0||0||4||0||0||23y 251d||83||14|
|4||Gibbs, Bryce||15||5||15||30||0||2||0||3||0||0||28y 102d||222||131|
|32||Graham, Nick||13||6||7||20||0||0||0||4||0||2||23y 13d||34||8|
|14||Jones, Liam||7||3||1||8||0||0||0||3||3||1||26y 121d||86||84|
|8||Kreuzer, Matthew||11||4||3||14||2||2||37||1||1||2||28y 43d||152||80|
|13||Lamb, Jed||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||24y 249d||40||32|
|22||Marchbank, Caleb||10||5||1||11||0||0||0||3||2||1||20y 200d||20||0|
|3||Murphy, Marc||11||7||15||26||0||0||0||2||1||1||29y 341d||227||164|
|5||Petrevski-Seton, Sam||3||3||1||4||0||0||0||3||0||0||19y 126d||12||6|
|33||Pickett, Jarrod||2||2||4||6||0||0||0||2||1||1||20y 311d||6||2|
|20||Plowman, Lachie||2||1||9||11||0||0||0||1||1||2||22y 287d||52||1|
|1||Silvagni, Jack||7||1||2||9||0||1||0||1||1||1||19y 190d||20||18|
|6||Simpson, Kade||15||6||7||22||0||1||0||2||0||1||33y 51d||277||130|
|16||Smedts, Billie||4||2||4||8||0||0||0||2||1||2||25y 17d||43||20|
|39||Thomas, Dale||13||7||8||21||1||0||0||1||2||2||30y 4d||210||147|
|23||Weitering, Jacob||8||6||9||17||0||0||0||1||0||0||19y 214d||33||9|
|46||Wright, Matthew||12||8||4||16||1||1||0||1||1||0||27y 193d||129||102|