Richardson stars as Richmond win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Richardson stars as Richmond win

15/06/2008 09:40:23 PM Comments (0)

Matthew Richardson was so important for Richmond in their AFL win over Melbourne that when he briefly played the wrong role, it had dramatic consequences.

Richardson took 18 marks and kicked five goals as the Tigers won a game of major momentum shifts by 22 points, 16.20 (116) to 14.10 (94).

Early in the third term, as Melbourne started to recover from Richmond's eight-goal onslaught during the previous quarter, Richardson was mysteriously playing deep in defence.

Coach Terry Wallace admitted that was the result of a mis-communication and also conceded "it hurt".

"That was a mixed instruction, we didn't want that at all," Wallace said.

"The instruction was for him to come back up and play his normal role and they thought that meant 'go behind the ball'.

"It took us probably three or four minutes (and) you know when that situation happens, you know everyone is going to be saying it looks like you're in panic mode.

"It didn't help us at all."

Melbourne regrouped in the third quarter and twice closed to within eight points during the final term, before the Tigers closed the game out with two of the last three goals.

Richardson has been brilliant this year and when asked if the Tigers veteran could win the Brownlow Medal, Melbourne coach Dean Bailey simply replied "yes".

"He's unpredictable, but he's very exciting - I think he took one mark, ran from halfback and just almost launched himself lateral to the ground and took a mark running inside 50," Bailey said.

"He's got some special qualities, no doubt about that ... he's well on the way."

Wallace took note of Richardson's five-straight goals and jokingly called him "the marksman", given his star often is anything but.

"Credit to him, he's had a fantastic year and to be one of the players that really got us over the line was fantastic, really pleasing," Wallace said.

Richmond started strongly, but Melbourne rebounded and led by 21 points before Richardson kicked his first two goals approaching quarter-time.

Then came the second term, when the Tigers were outstanding.

Shane Tuck won several centre clearances, Brett Deledio cut Melbourne apart with scything runs through the centre of the ground, Nathan Brown kicked two of his three goals in his 200th game and Richardson put through another two.

The Tigers led by 38 points at halftime, but it should have been more - they closed out the first half with six-straight behinds.

To their credit, the Demons nearly made Richmond pay for not killing off the match, but the AFL's bottom side lacked the poise to complete the fightback.

For all the Demons' bravery and Richardson's brilliance, this was very much a game between 12th (Richmond) and last (Melbourne).

Wallace noted that Richard Tambling played a vital role off halfback in the final term as the Tigers regrouped.

"We had our chances, we had a really disappointing second quarter - we had the ball enough ... we just couldn't stop the momentum," Bailey said.

"It was a big wave and we just couldn't stop it."

Cameron Bruce and Paul Wheatley impressed for the Demons, while Aaron Davey took a brilliant mark over Richardson in the third term and kicked two goals.

Brad Miller was also dangerous in attack, finishing with three goals.

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