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Tigers win fiesty clash over Lions

Nathan Schmook, AFL.com.au  July 16, 2017 3:11 PM

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The Richmond Tigers have defeated the Brisbane Lions by 31 points at Etihad Stadium.

The Tigers led from the opening minute until the final siren, but were only 11 points clear of the Lions halfway through the third quarter as a lack of discipline and killer-instinct took its toll.

When the shackles were released in the final term they kicked seven goals, but the Lions played the game out impressively with six of their own. 

Dustin Martin was unstoppable in the third quarter, winning 15 possessions and five clearances in that term alone and kicking one goal to continue his magnificent season.

Key forward Jack Riewoldt booted four goals, while small forwards Jason Castagna, Dan Butler and Daniel Rioli combined for six goals.

Captain Trent Cotchin battled hard with 28 possessions (15 contested), while Anthony Miles was called on for his third game this season and impressed with 24 possessions.

The Lions were led by classy youngster Alex Witherden, who produced the best performance of his debut season to finish with 28 possessions and four inside 50s, using the ball with precision.

The Lions wouldn't have lost any fans in a plucky performance, making it hard for the Tigers to get any momentum through the game but lacking the polish to punish their more experienced opponents.

"We were still in the game at three-quarter time … (and) the last quarter was six goals to seven, so our blokes kept fighting on, which I was really pleased about," Chris Fagan said. 

"We got smashed out of the centre bounces (20-4) – it was probably obvious for everyone to see – which got the game played in their half.

"I thought our defenders did a great job to defend that many inside-50s actually and keep them to 32 shots."

The Tigers had control of the match early on and kicked away to a 19-point lead at the first change.

After the club's worst loss of the season last week against St Kilda, Damien Hardwick made personnel and structural changes that were working well, but the Tigers seemed to get comfortable with their early lead and mistakes crept into their game.

"It was a little bit frustrating," Hardwick said.

"We played a pretty attacking style of footy at stages, but some of those errors we were committing across our half-forward line really hurt us on the scoreboard going the other way.

"We can get better in that area. It's probably an area we've been a little bit inconsistent with at various stages, so it'll certainly be an area we'll be looking to work on this week."

The Lions of 2017 are not the sort of team that you can afford to relax against, and they reminded the Tigers of that in a three-goal run in the second-quarter that cut the half-time margin to eight points.

Richmond is 4-11 in second quarters this season and Hardwick's men kicked 1.4 in a wasteful term that lacked the discipline and killer-instinct of a leading team.

A re-set was required at half-time and, after kicking 0.3 from the first five inside 50s of the third quarter, Riewoldt looked to spark the Tigers with some magic from the pocket.

The most engrossing battle of the quarter was taking place elsewhere in the forward line, however, as Martin isolated Nick Robertson in a niggly battle that eventually boiled over with Martin's strike.

MEDICAL ROOM

Richmond: Defender Dylan Grimes suffered a nose injury in the second half that required treatment but was able to play out the game. Likewise, big man Ivan Soldo landed on his face in the second half and went off with the blood rule before returning.

Brisbane Lions: The Lions got through the match unscathed.

NEXT UP

The Tigers host Greater Western Sydney at the MCG in a high stakes clash next Sunday that will put their top-four credentials to the test. The Lions are back at the Gabba to host Carlton in the Sunday twilight slot. 

RICHMOND                 4.4       5.8       9.13     16.16 (112)
BRISBANE LIONS        1.3       4.6       6.8       12.9 (81)

GOALS
Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Butler 3, Martin 2, Castagna 2, Edwards, Cotchin, Prestia, Rioli, B Ellis
Brisbane Lions: Keays 2, Schache 2, Hipwood 2, Cutler, Zorko, Bastinac, Mathieson, Walker, McCluggage

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