Saturday, August 3, 2013

Richmond puts marker down with thrashing of Hawthorn at the MCG - The Australian

Richmond have stunned Hawthorn with a 41-point win in the wet at the MCG. The Hawks had the edge at half time, but a ten-goal second half blitz made sure Richmond will be playing finals in September.

Richmond's Nathan Foley celebrates a goal during the Tigers' big win over Hawthorn at the MCG  

RICHMOND'S 12-year AFL finals drought is almost certainly about to break and the Tigers have the ability to make some noise when there.

The Tigers looked top shelf with a 16.11 (107) to 9.12 (66) run-away MCG win over premiership favourite Hawthorn this afternoon.

The win lifted the sixth-placed Tigers to a 12-6 record and gave them their second big scalp in a fortnight, after they downed fifth-placed Fremantle at the same venue two rounds ago.

They became the first team other than Geelong to beat the Hawks this season and made it two in a row against Hawthorn, having thrashed them by 62 points in round nine last year, their most recent meeting.

Today's 41-point loss was Hawthorn's biggest defeat since then.

Captain Trent Cotchin (34 disposals, nine tackles) led a dominant Richmond midfield as the Tigers belted the Hawks in clearances and contested ball to set up the win.

Key defenders Alex Rance and Troy Chaplin were superb on Lance Franklin (one goal) and Jarryd Roughead (none) respectively and Steven Morris blanketed Cyril Rioli as the star-studded Hawks attack was kept to its lowest score of the year.

Dustin Martin, Brandon Ellis, Nathan Foley, Daniel Jackson, Brett Deledio and Bachar Houli all contributed to the Tigers' great run and midfield drive, while ruckman Ivan Maric helped set up their clearance dominance and Jack Riewoldt kicked three goals.

Coach Damien Hardwick said the win reinforced to his players what they were capable of but the next step was maintaining that high standard.

"The challenge for us now is to consistently deliver that over four quarters for the next three or four weeks," Hardwick said.

"It was a great result today, we look forward to continuing the trend.

"We've known we're a capable side.

"But the thing that's been disappointing for us is that the sides above us have certainly exposed a little bit of a gap.

"Today we really challenged ourselves to make that gap smaller."

Hardwick said nothing would change in the Tigers' approach as they near what for most of the squad will be their first finals campaign.

"We're not going to put a ceiling on it, we're just going to go through there and see what happens," he said.

Isaac Smith gave the Hawks some run but most of their stars failed to shine and coach Alastair Clarkson admitted it was one of their worst days.

"We haven't played that badly for some time," he said.

"We've got some work to do. We played a good side today.

"They out-hunted us, and as soon as they were able to that, then we were chasing leather and chasing Richmond jumpers and that makes it pretty difficult."

RICHMOND 6.4 6.6 10.10 16.11 (107)
HAWTHORN 3.4 6.8 7.10 9.12 (66)

Goals: Richmond: J Riewoldt 3 D Jackson 2 L McGuane 2 M White 2 S Edwards 2 C Newman D Martin I Maric N Foley S Tuck. Hawthorn: P Puopolo 2 B Guerra I Smith J Ceglar J Lewis L Franklin L Hodge S Burgoyne.
Best: Richmond: T Cotchin A Rance T Chaplin D Martin S Morris I Maric. Hawthorn: I Smith B Lake S Mitchell P Puopolo S Burgoyne B Stratton. Injuries: Nil. Reports: Nil. Umpires: Troy Pannell, Mathew Nicholls, Dean Margetts.
Crowd: 64,324 at MCG

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