Richmond has put the final nail in the coffin that once was Essendon’s finals aspirations, overwhelming them to win by 45 points at the MCG.
It was nothing more than a high-quality, dominant and sublime display from the Tigers, although it is as much of an indictment on Essendon as it is a praise for Richmond.
Although the game started off relatively even on the scoreboard, with a classy goal to Brett Deledio and an opportunistic soccer to hard-working debutant Nick O’Brien, Richmond were simply winning too much of the footy and kicking it long too often inside 50 for Essendon to competently tolerate, and the floodgates, albeit slowly, were opening.
Even with superstar and Brownlow Medal favourite Trent Cotchin’s two first-quarter disposals, Brett Deledio and Shane Tuck were pivotal in the midield, and Jack Riewoldt and Shane Edwards were dangerous up forward.
They thrived on the heap of opportunity, and Essendon collapsed. With 42 inside 50s in the first half alone, Richmond were completely overrunning an Essendon not even in second gear, and only accuracy held them to a 29-point lead at the half.
The Dons did come out of the long break with a bit more composure and intensity, kicking three of the first four goals and in doing so drew the margin back to a very reachable 18 points.
And, had their next three shots on goal in the third quarter been goals, rather than three Stewart Crameri behinds, then they may have come a lot closer.
But the same could be said for Richmond, finished the quarter with four goals and five behinds, including Trent Cotchin’s third and Jack Riewoldt’s fourth.
In fact, it seemed like their conversion was the only thing holding back an absolute thumping, and the fourth quarter went on to exemplify that.
Super sub Brett O’Hanlon kicked the only goal for Richmond in the last, from nine scoring shots, taking them to 13.24 from 12.16.
With that, conversion and goal kicking essentially became the one facet of the game in which they weren’t truly on top.
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Edwards 2, McGuane 2, Astbury, Deledio, Grigg, Martin, Nahas, O’Hanlon
Essendon: Monfries 3, Browne, Gumbleton, Hurley, Jetta, O’Brien
Richmond: Tuck, Cotchin, Deledio, Martin, Riewoldt, Houli
Essendon: Monfries, Heppell, Hibberd, Bellchambers, Watson, Crameri
Richmond: White (hamstring)
Essendon: Davey (hamstring), Crameri (shoulder)
Richmond: Brett O’Hanlon replaced Matt White in the second quarter
Essendon: Jake Melksham replaced Alwyn Davey in the second quarter
Reports: Shane Edwards (Richmond) reported for striking Angus Monfries in the third quarter.
Umpires: Nicholls, McInerney, Mollison
Official crowd: 47,590 at the MCG