Riewoldt the only winner
The final scoreline .... The Tigers come to terms with a final round draw. Photo: Getty Images
RICHMOND 5.1 6.6 11.8 16.10 (106) PORT ADELAIDE 2.5 6.7 12.8 16.10 (106)
GOALS Richmond: Riewoldt 6, Edwards 3, McGuane 2, Astbury, Post, Nahas, Grigg, Tuck. Port Adelaide: Schulz 4, Brad Ebert 3, Brett Ebert 2, Broadbent 2, Young, Wingard, Pearce, Rodan, Thomas.
BEST Richmond: Cotchin, Riewoldt, Houli, Edwards, Tuck, Grigg. Port Adelaide: Brad Ebert, Broadbent, Schulz, Pearce, Boak, Hartlett.
UMPIRES T Pannell, C Kamolins, J Mollison.
CROWD 27,893 at MCG.
A SIX-goal haul by Jack Riewoldt ensured the key Tiger forward salvaged something memorable from the remains of another frustrating season for his club by winning the Coleman Medal outright.
But a Domenic Cassisi point in the last 30 seconds meant that Port Adelaide snatched a draw right at the death, the first match all season to end on level terms.
Richmond v Port Adelaide
Coleman medalist Richmond's Jack Riewoldt. Photo: Joe Armao
Richmond looked to have the game in control when it was 12 points clear in the 20th minute of the final term but Port would not lie down and eventually the siren sounded at the MCG with the scores locked at 16.10 (116) apiece.
The Tigers have made a speciality of losing close games this season and while this was not a defeat, it will feel like a loss. Still, Port will feel that it was perhaps worth a share of the spoils given the chances it created and spurned early in the game.
Riewoldt struck with a goal in each of the first two quarters, a brace in the third and two in the final term, dashing the hopes of Fremantle's Matthew Pavlich and Geelong's Tom Hawkins - not to mention statisticians everywhere, who would have enjoyed the prospect of a triple tie for the goal-kicking award.
Riewoldt ended the home-and-away campaign with 65 goals, having come into this match on 59, three behind the two front runners who finished their regular season on Saturday.
Riewoldt ensured he put his name into the record books for the second time in three years.
For Port, which will be under the control of a new management and coaching team next season, the game was about pride, showing passion for the jersey, impressing whoever is stepping into the hot seat - and giving the Power's dwindling fan base something to cling on to over the summer months.
Even though the Tigers made heavy weather of this game, there was a sense of inevitability about proceedings. Richmond began brightly, Port got the better of the second and third quarters and looked to have every chance before being run down in the closing stages.
In every game every team gets its chance. The difference between winning and losing, so often, is taking those opportunities - especially when they come early in the match.
Port may be giving a good impression of a club in crisis, out of form and out of confidence, but it began with vim and vigour against a Richmond side that gave the early impression it thought the four points were there for the taking with the minimum of effort.
Port's forward line was moving well and creating space, while its midfielders played a pressing game, denying the Tigers time and space and restricting the home side to a sole Shane Tuck goal against the run of play.
But the feeling remained that Port had to make the most of its time. The Tigers stretched, shook themselves out of their lethargy and then piled on four more goals as the momentum began to build for Riewoldt to be given as many strikes on goal as could be manufactured.
The big forward obliged with his first in the first quarter, taking a mark and finishing it off in the 19th minute.
Riewoldt's desperation to snare a second Coleman was evident throughout as he worked into positions and demanded the ball at every turn, letting teammates know his feelings if he was ignored.
The Tigers looked as though they would take control of this game as they went to the first change with a 14-point lead. But Port would not be denied, goals to Matthew Broadbent and the former Tiger Jay Schulz cancelling out the Tigers' advantage in the second term.
Even though Riewoldt closed in to within one goal of a share of the Coleman with a second-quarter soccer off the ground, it was Port that went to the long break a point to the good.
Port kept its nerve through the third term and, despite the excitement of Riewoldt's landmark - confirmed when he got his fourth from a free kick close to goal - held on to lead by six points as the final quarter of the season for both teams loomed.
It looked as though Luke McGuane's early miss in the final term and Danyle Pearce's goal might be critical as Port stretched the lead, but Riewoldt's fifth galvanised the hosts. But not quite enough.
RIEWOLDT KEEPS FANS HAPPY
Goalkickers have got to be single-minded, often selfish, individuals, and Jack Riewoldt is no exception. The Tigers goal ace won the Coleman Medal as the league's top goal scorer in 2010, and he was determined to do everything he could to match that achievement yesterday. Riewoldt came into the game on 59 goals, three behInd Matthew Pavlich and Tom Hawkins. It made for four-quarter entertainment for a Tigers crowd - an unusual taste of September action.
REMINDER FROM SCHULZ
There's nothing like returning to a previous club and playing a stormer against the men who let you go. Jay Schulz made his debut for the Tigers in 2003. Yesterday he reminded the Tiger faithful that he could do a job with nine first-half marks and three goals. And just to rub it in, he took a spectacular mark before adding his fourth.
OH SO CLOSE
The Tigers have lost more close games than any side this year, while Port Adelaide has so often looked like a team that gets itself into some decent positions but doesn't know how to win. Neither side could quite seal the deal as they traded goals right to the final minute.
Poll: Who was the player of round 23 in the AFL premiership season 2012?
- Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn)
- James Kelly (Geelong)
- Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide)
- Scott Thompson (North Melbourne)
- Dane Swan (Collingwood)
- Nathan Fyfe (Fremantle)
- David Armitage (St Kilda)
- Trent Cotchin (Richmond)
- Jonathan Brown (Brisbane Lions)
- Brock McLean (Carlton)
Total votes: 10085.
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Poll closed 7 Sep, 2012
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