Demons into second after beating Tigers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demons into second after beating Tigers

By Adam Cooper 14/07/2006 10:40:55 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne moved into second and burst Richmond's bubble with a comfortable 18-point win over the Tigers in the round 15 opener at the MCG.

The Demons used their run to break open a defensive first half and then were the only side capable of mounting any decent attacks throughout the second, and won 9.16 (70) to 7.10 (52) before a crowd of 60,086.

Melbourne's 11th win from its past 12 matches meant it overtook West Coast, although the Eagles can reclaim second spot if they beat Sydney.

Melbourne forward Russell Robertson booted 4.4 and took 15 marks, including a contender for mark of the season over opponent Joel Bowden, who had a horror night.

Robertson was well supported by desperate midfielder James McDonald, busy onballer Simon Godfrey and small defender Matthew Whelan, who kept Tigers gun Nathan Brown quiet.

Both teams were content to employ a short-kicking, stagnant game early, but Demons Aaron Davey and Byron Pickett both took their men on in a crucial play in the second term, and their run made a goal for Jared Rivers.

That goal was the first of four, and the Dees never let slip their handy lead.

Richmond booted the last three goals of the game, but never looked like pinching it.

Robertson's impressive performance was in stark contrast to a shocker from Bowden, who had enjoyed a strong season across half-back.

But the Tigers backman handballed to a grateful Davey in the second term for a goal, then turned stepladder for Robertson, who took a big hanger over the top and duly converted.

Despite being the biggest possession winner on the ground, Bowden ended the night even more ingloriously, as he struck Daniel Ward in the face with a left fist trying to spoil, and caused a gash over the Melbourne backman's left eye.

Melbourne's win might have been much bigger had it not hit the post six times.

Richmond entered this match with good wins over Collingwood and Port Adelaide, but will finish outside the eight after the weekend if Fremantle beats the Magpies on Sunday.

Ruckman Troy Simmonds continued his good season for the Tigers, captain Kane Johnson kept Travis Johnstone in check and youngsters Brett Deledio and Nathan Foley were solid.

In a scrappy game despite ideal conditions, Melbourne coach Neale Daniher was disappointed his players could not match their high skill level of recent weeks, although the endeavour and tackling were good.

"We had a win against a team that has been in pretty good form, but I was disappointed with the brand of footy that we played, with a big crowd in," he said.

"We had a solid win with blokes that can improve next week, that's how we look at it... but we go away thinking 'we're better than that' and we need to take our game to a higher level."

But Daniher was pleased Melbourne could adjust to Richmond's defensive tactics, such as flooding and heavy tags on Johnstone and Cameron Bruce.

"What I take out of that is OK, if that's what you're going to throw at us, we'll adjust and we'll beat you," he said.

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