Shai Bolton works some magic in the Tigers forward line.
Shai Bolton works some magic in the Tigers forward line.

Wounded Tigers pull off stunning Freo ambush

The first thing that Ross Lyon needs to do in the wake of his team's 25-point loss to Richmond is get a dictionary out and get his players to look up the meaning of the word "ambush".

Clearly they don't fully understand it. He had warned about a Tiger ambush all week. And Richmond jumped them anyway on the way to a 17.9 (111) to 12.14 (86) upset.

This was the second great Richmond win interstate and undermanned this year.

The Tigers had done the same to Port Adelaide. If anything, this was more meritorious - no Jack Riewoldt, no Trent Cotchin, no Alex Rance, no Daniel Rioli, no Nick Vlastuin.

They lost ruckman Toby Nankervis and Jack Ross before halftime.

But they beat the Dockers with pace, pressure and method, not manpower.

Brandon Ellis was brilliant, ditto Kane Lambert. Shai Bolton lit up Optus Stadium with his speed and goal sense and finished with four goals.

Fremantle didn't handle the heat in the midfield or Richmond's pace on the spread. They coughed the ball up under pressure and then couldn't get back quickly enough to help their defence. This was Richmond's surge mentality in all its glory and the Dockers floundered under the heat.

 

Shai Bolton kicked four goals in a brilliant display back in his home town.
Shai Bolton kicked four goals in a brilliant display back in his home town.

 

Nat Fyfe finished with 33 disposals and three goals but might also be tribunal-bound after a high forearm clipped Tom Lynch in the last term. David Mundy and Michael Walters battled hard. Brandon Matera created chances but could not take them.

Others, it must be said, found their level and it is not a level that is going to take the team far enough up the ladder.

Back in his home town, Bolton ignited his team with his first 15 minutes, kicking two goals to go with others from Lynch and Lambert. It should have been five Richmond goals, with Liam Baker taking the advantage after Bolton had pulled Luke Ryan in a magnificent tackle to earn a free kick.

Richmond's surge mentality got the Dockers defence on the back foot and turned around. They didn't just not cope well, they didn't cope at all.

But they got steadying goals from Rory Lobb and Jesse Hogan and a third to Fyfe after a massive Nankervis brain fade and 100m penalty when he didn't give the ball back after a free kick and 50m penalty was paid.

The Dockers held sway for parts of the second term but Richmond still went to halftime with an extended lead because when they went, they went quickly and frequently got out the back of the Dockers' zone.

 

Sydney Stack of the Tigers leaps over Liam Baker and Nathan Wilson.
Sydney Stack of the Tigers leaps over Liam Baker and Nathan Wilson.

 

They kicked three goals for the term, one from a clumsy hold by Luke Ryan on Josh Caddy in the square.

With Nankervis labouring, the Dockers tried to get Lobb forward more often to stretch the Tigers' defence. He took a mark but missed the shot. Sam Switkowski nailed a set shot, as did Matt Taberner as too many of Fremantle's 29 first half inside-50s turned into nothing.

And then in the third term, the Tigers bolted, in name and in play. Balta, seconded into the ruck after Nankervis was forced out of the game, held his own and then some and kicked a remarkable goal after Ryan had falconed himself on the line and kept the ball in play. Bolton continued to burn off the Dockers defence and kicked his third goal.

Jason Castagna circumnavigated Adam Cerra on the boundary line, taking a bounce for dramatic effect and then snapping one of the goals of the year. He added another before the end of the quarter.

 

Tom Lynch answered his critics with eight marks (six contested) and two goals.
Tom Lynch answered his critics with eight marks (six contested) and two goals.

 

The Dockers kicked three of their own up the other end with Hogan adding a second and Matera getting dangerous. But the normally deadly Matera's radar was off and while he nailed one brilliant snap from the pocket, he missed three easier ones that would have dragged his team closer at the final break.

As it was, Richmond was 27-points clear. They were two men down with Nankervis and Jack Ross off injured, yet they ploughed away with the game anyway.

Fyfe hung his forearm out and clipped Lynch with it in a ground ball contest. Until last Tuesday night that was a week's suspension. After Gary Ablett and the tribunal on Tuesday night we are no longer sure.

Meanwhile, Bolton kicked his fourth, Dustin Martin got in on the act, so did best afield Ellis and Kamdyn McIntosh.

 

Sydney Stack celebrates the win.
Sydney Stack celebrates the win.

 

Fyfe pushed forward himself and kicked three goals but at the end of the day the 25-point margin Richmond held at the end was the same as the 25 points they had jumped the Dockers by at the start.

News Corp Australia


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