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Melbourne posts gutsy AFL win over wasteful Richmond

The Demons have leapfrogged Richmond with the win.

The Demons have leapfrogged Richmond with the win.

MELBOURNE 1.3  4.5  9.6  14.7 (91) RICHMOND 2.3  4.8  6.16  9.20 (74)
Goals: Melbourne: J Watts 3 C Pedersen 2 D Tyson 2 A Riley B Vince C Dawes J Kennedy-Harris J Viney M Jones N Jones. Richmond: B Lennon 2 S Edwards 2 D Jackson D Martin J Riewoldt S Lloyd T Cotchin.
BEST Melbourne: N. Jones, Howe, Tyson,Watts, Pedersen, Viney, Grimes. Richmond: Martin, Cotchin, Jackson, Deledio, Edwards, Grigg.
INJURIES Melbourne: Jetta (gastro) replaced in selected side by Toumpas. Richmond: Astbury (knee), Cotchin (ankle).
Umpires: Ben Ryan, Mathew Nicholls, Leigh Fisher.
Official Crowd: 56,910 at MCG.

Jack Watts has fronted post-game inquisitions and kept his chin up in some solemn and gloomy changerooms through his five-and-a-bit seasons as a Demon, so deserved to air his take on happier times.

"I think in the past we've thought that individually we had to do something special to win a game of AFL footy," Watts said after Saturday's collegiate win. "Whereas if every player just plays his role when it's his turn to go, that's when you win games of footy."

It was a dirty day all round for the Tigers. David Astbury was forced from the field with a knee injury.

It was a dirty day all round for the Tigers. David Astbury was forced from the field with a knee injury. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Time
FT
Team
RFC
Score
9.20.74
Team
MFC
Score
14.7.91
Richmond versus Melbourne
View Match Statistics
Players Edwards (2.2), Lennon (2.1), Riewoldt (1.3), Cotchin (1.1), Lloyd (1.1), Jackson (1.0), Martin (1.0), Griffiths (0.3), Grigg (0.3), Deledio (0.1), Ellis (0.1), Houli (0.1) Scorers Watts (3.0), Pedersen (2.2), Tyson (2.0), Dawes (1.1), Jones (1.0), Jones (1.0), Kennedy-Harris (1.0), Riley (1.0), Vince (1.0), Viney (1.0), Bail (0.1), Gawn (0.1), Salem (0.1)

Even with the mandatory modern leaning on "the process", it summed up where the Demons were better than Richmond, and are getting better in general.

Nathan Jones went head-to-head with Trent Cotchin, having done so this season with Marc Murphy and Gary Ablett. His cause was helped by an ankle injury to the Tigers' captain, yet he kept churning away for the team good. Jones' 13 last-quarter possessions were back-breaking for an ailing opponent.

Up forward, Chris Dawes and Cameron Pedersen laid eight tackles each – Dawes in what his coach Paul Roos said wasn't a great personal game, but one in which he was his team's general, while Pedersen won the one-on-one contests that Damien Hardwick would rue as being key to the result.

Tom Haffey tribute before the game. Click for more photos

AFL round 9: Richmond vs Melbourne at the MCG

Melbourne 14-7-91 beat Richmond 9-20-74 by 17 points at the MCG. Photo: Wayne Taylor

"That's a great stat for two of our big boys to have 16 tackles between them," Watts said, noting the emphasis Roos has placed on his forwards "rolling up" to close off the corridor.

Max Gawn and Mark Jamar pushed forward to stretch an opposition defence that lost David Astbury in the third quarter, was already under pressure and thereafter couldn't hold back the tide. Jack Grimes went to a rampant Dustin Martin and matched him for output, Dom Tyson and Jack Viney played like the on-ballers on the rise that they undoubtedly are.

Jeremy Howe's reading of the incoming ball was a highlight, launching himself skyward and plucking marks deep in defence that were as thrilling as those in his earlier incarnation as a leaping forward. With Richmond still clinging on, he loped through a vacant middle and speared a pass to Jay Kennedy-Harris that gave the Demons a game-high 16-point lead that made safe a win of merit.

"That's the beautiful thing about Howey down back, when he flies for those marks ... as a forward you can see he's going to elevate and take a mark from an oppo kick, we can read it and go bang out to the other side," Watts said. "It gives us a lot of predictability as a team. He's embraced that role, he's playing fantastically well."

The gods were supposed to be with the Tigers but they were on the wrong end of some head-banging moments. Nathan Jones, with the game's first, and Tyson  both kicked goals with the help of ripping leg-break bounces. When Watts blasted a floating, wobbling mongrel punt to full-forward, it landed in Aiden Riley's lap surrounded by three Tigers.

Every Richmond miss amplified the drums of doom. Through the game's middle quarters they kicked 2.5 and 2.6. Shaun Grigg fluffed three gettable shots in open play in little more than five minutes either side of half-time; Ben Griffiths can kick it a country mile, but Tiger fans yearned for him to simply kick it straight; he too kicked three behinds.

Hardwick admitted to erring in subbing out Shaun Hampson just after the long break. Even though his replacement Ben Lennon had joined the goal-from-first-kick club before the scoreboard even announced his arrival,  Astbury's knee collapsing soon after as Viney sold him a most painful dummy left his team a rotation down. 

Cotchin was having treatment in the rooms at the time, and had to pull his boot back on and wince back into battle. Not surprisingly, his coach wished he had more than one of him.

A tone of sorts was set in the opening minute when Reece Conca hesitated inside his defensive arc and Dawes mowed him down, dispossessing the Tiger with a seemingly perfect tackle. No free was paid – then, or for the next 17 minutes. 

Finally the first infringement of the game was spotted when Gawn really was gone, but only eight frees were paid to half-time, building to 24 for the afternoon. Holding the ball, in particular, seemed to have been a silent victim of Joe Hockey's federal budget.

Watts' third goal – screwed around the body after positioning himself perfectly at the drop of the ball – illustrated perfectly Roos' assessment that his players are learning where to be for each and every contest. Beaming, Watts summed it up. "This is what footy's about, isn't it?"

36 comments so far

  • A rubbish match between two bottom-six sides, something Richmond supporters are becoming acclimatised to these days.

    Time for some more mindless contract extensions at Punt Road to reinforce "stability" and avoid tough decisions, eh?

    Commenter
    DC
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 17, 2014, 5:41PM
    • Not rubbish at all. Melbourne played out of their skins. Great contested marking, they were hard and the game was high intensity regardless of result.

      Commenter
      Tragic
      Date and time
      May 18, 2014, 2:14AM
    • One of the Tigers major sponsors is Lite n Easy...very appropriate.

      Commenter
      Captain Grumpy
      Location
      Kingsville
      Date and time
      May 18, 2014, 6:58AM
  • Dustin Martin was very astute in his quest to exit Tigertown .. A premier ship is beyond this group..

    Commenter
    jaybuoy
    Location
    new brighton
    Date and time
    May 17, 2014, 5:58PM
    • Over 50 years I've sat through some miserable years as a Richmond follower. But not being able to stand up for THE most important man Richmond has ever had the honour of having as coach is UNFORGIVABLE! I hereby detach myself emotionally from the club, and consider myself able to follow another AFL club. Now I can snigger at the silly old tigers like everyone else.

      Commenter
      Ex-tiger
      Date and time
      May 17, 2014, 6:07PM
      • Bye bye tiges.
        What a usless mob.
        The membership tickets will be getiing ripped up tonite.
        Round 9 and already GONE!!!!
        On the bright side, you have Lennon. Just find McCartney and you could become a 22 piece band.

        Commenter
        Alicats
        Location
        gold coast
        Date and time
        May 17, 2014, 6:08PM
        • Dare I say it, even if they do find McCartney and Harrison to compliment Lennon, they'll never get a Star! Sheesh, what a disgrace. Of all the days to get rolled.

          Commenter
          Johnny
          Date and time
          May 17, 2014, 6:57PM
        • With Lennon on board, the Tiges are site to finish number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9......

          Commenter
          brm
          Date and time
          May 18, 2014, 8:38AM
      • Dees pressured a team who didn't look like wanting the ball...

        The tigers were gifted 2 goals in the third quarter by some horrible umpire decisions but what was promising was the MFC ability to hold up.

        Plus there is nothing like beating the Tigers ;-)

        Go Dees

        Commenter
        BKMDave
        Date and time
        May 17, 2014, 6:27PM
        • The team who apparently didn't want the ball had a heap more shots at goal and inside 50's. It was simply a case of being wasteful. Grigg, Griffiths, and Riewoldt kicked 1.9 between them. That's the game right there

          Commenter
          Mick
          Date and time
          May 17, 2014, 9:54PM

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