Essendon 6.2 12.7 16.9 19.14 (128)
Richmond 4.2 6.8 11.16 15.19 (109)
It was intense, it was fast-paced, it was high-scoring and it was entertaining, but it was Essendon who ran away victorious over an inaccurate Richmond by 19 points in a shootout at the MCG.
Essendon played a fantastic game but it took a huge effort to finish it off after Richmond charged home after half-time.
Early in the third quarter Patrick Ryder kicked his fourth goal to take the lead out to a game-high 42 points, but from there it was entirely Richmond, who started to dominate the inside 50s.
In fact such was their assertion on the contest in the second half of the match that they had thirteen scoring shots in the third quarter, but a poor accuracy resulting in eight behinds meant that the margin reduction wasn’t as great as it could have been.
Four goals to one behind – two each to Trent Cotchin and Shane Edwards – without an Essendon score led them to clinch the lead.
From there, Richmond weren’t as clean going forward and Essendon upped their work rate, running harder and kicking more efficiently, setting the tone for the last fifteen minutes of play to kick the last three goals.
They earned the victory after a dominant first half, where they held a consistent and comfortable lead.
Dustin Martin did kick the first goal within a minute but Ryder responded with three of his own to give the Dons a huge spark, and although that lead was maintained it ended up being a goal-for-goal first quarter.
The Bombers then kicked up a gear, kicking six goals to two in the second to lead by 35 points at half time, including a late beauty from Brent Stanton, who finished with 29 disposals and three goals.
After a poor miss with a minute left, he forced a turnover into a boundary throw-in, won the footy once again and drilled a goal home from 50 metres out.
He and captain Jobe Watson (30 disposals, two goals) played brilliant games to lead the Bombers to victory with all-round team support.
For Richmond, Brett Deledio took home the Yiooken Award as the best player afield, recording 35 disposals, seven marks, ten tackles and a goal in an emphatic display, with Trent Cotchin (29 disposals, three goals) and Ivan Maric (22 disposals, 29 hitouts) providing great support, but it just wasn’t enough to take home the four points.
The victory sees Essendon on top on the ladder pending the rest of the round’s results, while Richmond sit thirteenth.
3 – Brett Deledio (Rich)
2 – Brent Stanton (Ess)
1 – Trent Cotchin (Rich)
Essendon: Ryder 4, Stanton 3, Monfries 3, Watson 2, Jetta 2, Davey 2, Crameri, Howlett, Lovett-Murray
Richmond: Cotchin 3, Edwards 3, Grigg 2, Martin 2, Deledio, Jackson, Miller, Nahas, Riewoldt
Essendon: Watson, Stanton, Crameri, Ryder, Jetta, Bellchambers, Heppell, Zaharakis
Richmond: Deledio, Cotchin, Grigg, Foley, Maric, Tuck, Jackson
Essendon: Fletcher (groin), Hardingham (calf)
Richmond: Grimes (hamstring)
Essendon: Nathan Lovett-Murray replaced Dustin Fletcher (thigh) in the third quarter.
Richmond: Brandon Ellis replaced Dylan Grimes (hamstring) in the second quarter.
Umpires: Rosebury, Stewart, Bannister
Official crowd: 80,900 at the MCG