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Seventh heaven: Richmond's gutsy win keeps finals dream alive

Date

AFL correspondent in South Australia

View more articles from Ashley Porter

Ben Griffiths of the Tigers competes with Josh Jenkins of the Crows at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

Ben Griffiths of the Tigers competes with Josh Jenkins of the Crows at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. Photo: Getty Images

RICHMOND 5.1 7.5 8.14 10.19 (79) ADELAIDE 2.3 4.10 5.13 9.15 (69)
Goals: Richmond: B Deledio 2 D Martin 2 N Gordon 2 B Griffiths N Foley S Edwards T Cotchin. Adelaide: E Betts 2 J Podsiadly 2 T Walker 2 C Cameron D Mackay J Jenkins.
BEST: Richmond: Ellis, Deledio, Cotchin, Rance, Miles, Edwards. Adelaide: Jacobs, B. Crouch, Jaensch, Talia, Dangerfield, Douglas.
INJURIES: Adelaide: Mackay (concussion/cheekbone). Richmond: Grimes (right shoulder). Umpires: Matt Stevic, Jeff Dalgleish, Andrew Mitchell.
Official Crowd: 50,459 at Adelaide Oval.

Richmond’s gutsy 10-point win against Adelaide in front of 50,459 hostile fans at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night must surely rate as one of its most crucial in recent times. And if they weren’t already rumbling in Tigerland, with seven wins on the trot and an amazing ticket into the finals dangling, they certainly are now.

After throwing away a 25-point lead in the third term, Nathan Gordon, who 12 months earlier worked as a storeman in Adelaide, lifted the heart of Richmond fans when he snapped a goal with three minutes 27 seconds remaining to steal back a remarkable win.

Trent Cotchin of the Tigers kicks under pressure from  Luke Brown of the Crows.

Trent Cotchin of the Tigers kicks under pressure from Luke Brown of the Crows. Photo: Getty Images

Time
Q4 31:25
Team
AFC
Score
9.15.69
Team
RFC
Score
10.19.79
Adelaide versus Richmond
View Match Statistics
Players Walker (2.2), Podsiadly (2.1), Betts (2.0), Cameron (1.1), Jenkins (1.1), Mackay (1.0), Dangerfield (0.1), Henderson (0.1), Jacobs (0.1), Sloane (0.1), Wright (0.1) Scorers Deledio (2.4), Gordon (2.1), Martin (2.0), Edwards (1.2), Griffiths (1.2), Cotchin (1.1), Foley (1.0), Ellis (0.2), Grigg (0.1), Maric (0.1), Petterd (0.1), Riewoldt (0.1), Vlastuin (0.1)

It what may prove to be the greatest rise on the ladder, coming from a 3-10 win-loss shamble to make the finals, Richmond is just a win out of the top eight with two rounds remaining against St Kilda and  Sydney. 

Not even a 1.9 third quarter would deny the Tigers this once seemingly impossible crack at the finals.

And when Dustin Martin pushed Ricky Henderson in the back with 53 seconds remaining and got away with it to goal and seal the win, the roars from Punt Road could be heard here.

It left the Crows shattered and set to tumble out the eight, and with North Melbourne and St Kilda to play, this latest failure to set its own finals destiny smacks of self-destruction.

Adelaide and Richmond went into the game knowing that Essendon had won, and a loss would be virtually fatal. And they played accordingly.

After a record 105-point win against the Brisbane Lions, Adelaide coach Brenton Sanderson focused on the negatives of playing at the Gabba in hot conditions and with a six-day break.  The negativity seemed to soak into the Crows far deeper than the early heavy rain and they played accordingly.

 For most part it was tentative, struggled to grasp the slippery ball, and made some awful and costly turnovers.

Richmond turned up with spark, and when Brett Deledio accepted a Crows’ handpass and goaled just 14 seconds into the game there was belief among his teammates this win was achievable. 

The momentum grew, and Richmond became oblivious to the pressure of this game; indeed the stakes. It just played quality and logical team football in a  style that the conditions demanded.

The second term brought moments for both sides who must have surely felt as if their season had passed their eyes, the classic being a vital two-minute patch when a free was reversed after Ivan Maric pushed Sam Jacobs and Ricky Petterd clear of opponents and rushing a shot — both instances costing goals.

What could have been a 15 or 21-point lead put Adelaide in the hunt with Eddie Betts winning a tough contest and snapping a goal, at which point a black cat ran onto the field. Bad luck or whatever, within two minutes the ball did an unlikely bounce over Sam Shaw giving Dustin Martin a bouncing goal from 65 minutes to restore order for Richmond.

Ultimately, Adelaide kicked 2.7 to 2.4 that second quarter. 

When Adelaide’s David Mackay was stretchered off six minutes into the third term after his a hard head clash with Anthony Miles as Deledio goaled, the Tigers led by 21 points and gloom descended upon the home crowd.

There were some terrific match-ups that brought relatively even results; Jacobs and Maric offered their different strengths, and Patrick Dangerfield lifted after Cotchin had worked so hard and well to contain him.

 Taylor Walker found the ball often enough but his lack of goals suggests Alex Rance had the better of him, while Daniel Talia was effective against Jack Riewoldt, who was held goalless.

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Round 21
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