Tigers see off stodgy Dockers
Richmond has moved back in to the top four with a hard fought 27 point win over Fremantle at Metricon Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Tigers led from the first score of the game until last but rarely felt comfortable against a Dockers side that continues to improve and evolve under first year coach Justin Longmuir, the 8.8 (56) to 4.5 (29) score line not an accurate reflection of the match.
Richmond started the better of the two teams kicking the first two majors through Jack Graham and Tom Lynch, but Fremantle was holding up well defensively as star intercept defender Luke Ryan showed his class on several occasions in the opening term to repel Tigers forward bursts.
Matt Taberner maintained his record of kicking a goal in every game when he won a free kick from a marking contest with Noah Balta late in the term, kicking what proved to be Fremantle’s only score of the quarter that saw the Dockers trail by 8 points at the first break.
Lynch had two early in the second term as the reigning premiers began to flex their collective muscle, and when usual defender Kamdyn McIntosh got forward to kick a major the Tigers had a 19 point lead at the half.
Fremantle needed avenues to goal to work their way back in to the game after only one goal in the opening half, lifting their work rate forward of centre in the third term to kick the only two majors of the term through Michael Walters and Mitch Crowden to leave the game on a knife’s edge with a quarter to play.
Leading by only six points against a team that is set to miss finals at the last change, Tigers coach Damian Hardwick delivered an almighty spray to his charges at three quarter time, getting the desired response out his team as they pushed away in the last term.
Jake Aarts kicked a running goal to steady the nerves before Crowden responded for Freo, but the final three goals of the match went the way of the side in yellow and black, Lynch’s third goal after the final siren sealing a 27 point triumph.
Jayden Short finished with 23 disposals for the winners, Marlion Pickett with 19 and Jack Graham 18 to go with his first term major.
Former Saint Blake Acres had the most disposals on the night for Fremantle with 27, skipper Nat Fyfe with 23 and young gun Caleb Serong firming for the Rising Star award with 22 disposals of his own.
Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir lamented most opportunities despite an encouraging showing against a quality opponent.
“We didn't capitalise on our dominance, we didn't do that tonight and against good teams you need to,” he said.
They scored pretty heavily in the last quarter. I thought especially in the second and third quarter we should've made more of our opportunities and that's been the issue for us all year.
Richmond have the bye in round 16, while Fremantle will play Melbourne at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns on Monday.
IMAGE: The West Australian.