RICHMOND has wound back its odds for this year’s premiership with a professional 32-point win over fellow top-four aspirant Collingwood at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday night.
The 14.14 (98) to 9.12 (66) result represented the Tigers’ fifth win in succession and sees Damien Hardwick’s men move into the top four for the first time since round 10.
While Richmond’s momentum toward September continues to grow, the Magpies have now lost four of their past five.
Dustin Martin produced one of his best games for the season, the Tigers superstar finishing the night with a stat-line of 38 possessions, four clearances, eight inside 50s and two goals, while Dion Prestia (35 disposals, eight clearances and six inside 50s) also did as he pleased.
Bachar Houli impressed in game 200 with 31 possessions, 11 intercepts and eight inside 50s, while Nick Vlastuin was also impassable in defence with 27 disposals, eight rebound 50s and 11 intercepts.
Up forward, Tom Lynch continued his rich vein of form with 16 possessions, six marks, five goals and 13 score involvements in a well-rounded performance. The 26-year-old has now kicked 17 goals in his past five outings and will be giving opposition defenders plenty of sleepless nights in the lead-up to finals.
For Collingwood, Adam Treloar continued his fine season with 39 disposals and one goal, while captain Scott Pendlebury (28 possessions and two goals) could hold his head high.
Jordan De Goey thrived with greater midfield responsibility, gathering 28 possessions to go with one goal and 11 inside 50s, but it was a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul as the Magpies struggled to find avenues to goal.
Collingwood booted the first goal of the night through Treloar, but it was one-way traffic from that point.
The first half was a throwback to Richmond’s premiership year of 2017, with the Tigers stronger in the contest than their opponents and moving the football with pace and precision as they provided their forwards with a bevy of scoring opportunities.
Lynch dominated when the match was up for grabs, kicking three goals and producing a clean gather and showing great composure to set up a Shai Bolton major.
By the time Lynch had kicked his third at the 13-minute mark, the margin had ballooned out to 45 points.
Late goals to Pendlebury and Ben Crocker gave Collingwood something to hang their hat on heading into half-time, but it didn’t hide the fact that the Magpies had only managed the three majors to the main break.
Nathan Buckley’s men stemmed the flow of goals in the third-quarter, but with Jamie Elliott and Mason Cox a non-factor in attack and De Goey spending more time in the middle in the absence of late withdrawal Taylor Adams (hamstring), Collingwood had to work extremely hard for their goals.
Despite holding their own in general play, the Magpies failed to make any inroads on the half-time deficit.
Trailing by 38 points and having booted just five goals across the first three quarters, a Collingwood comeback was always going to be unlikely but to their credit the Magpies fought the game out to ensure that their percentage wouldn’t cop a hammering.
Next on the agenda for Richmond is a Saturday night meeting with lowly Melbourne at the home of football, while Collingwood will be looking to return to the winners’ circle when they lock horns with Gold Coast at the MCG next Saturday afternoon.
COLLINGWOOD: 1.2 3.6 5.10 9.12 (66)
RICHMOND: 5.4 9.7 11.12 14.14 (98)
COLLINGWOOD: Mihocek 2, Pendlebury 2, Crocker, De Goey, Elliott, Thomas, Treloar
RICHMOND: Lynch 5, Martin 2, Lambert 2, Bolton, Chol, Riewoldt, Soldo, Stack
COLLINGWOOD: Treloar, De Goey, Pendlebury, Mayne, Howe
RICHMOND: Martin, Lynch, Prestia, Vlastuin, Houli, Stack
COLLINGWOOD: Adams (hamstring) replaced in selected team by Crocker, Roughead (concussion)
ATTENDANCE: 78, 722 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground