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VFL Tigers take down Cats

Lou Gillett, richmondfc.com.au  June 17, 2017 8:31 PM

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VFL Tigers Jacob Ballard and Steve Morris celebrate the Round 9 win. Photos: Cameron Grimes

Richmond 18.18.126 def Geelong 12.5.77

The VFL Tigers recorded their fourth win of the season, defeating Geelong by 49 points at the Swinburne Centre on Saturday.

With both sides level on the VFL ladder with three wins apiece, the VFL Tigers came out firing, leading at all breaks to make up valuable ground on the tightly-knit top-eight.

Steve Morris was in sparkling form, playing in a small forward role, kicking four goals in an impressive display.

Anthony Miles was instrumental again with 32 disposals, while Jacob Ballard and Brandon Wood were also tireless in their efforts in the midfield engine room.

Richmond VFL and development coach Ryan Ferguson said the side’s confidence when playing at home was a key contributor to the big victory.

“We feel like we play the ground really well,” Ferguson said.

“Every team likes to pride themselves on playing well at home.

“Based on our defence today, I think we were hard to play against.

“It’s important for the guys to know they’ve got it under their belt.”

After a cagey few opening minutes, the VFL Tigers nabbed their first through a classy Corey Ellis dribble, shortly after George Horlin-Smith got the opener for the Cats.

In a frenetic opening ten minutes that saw both sides exchange blows, Ryan Bathie converted from close range, while Tyson Stengle wowed the crowd with a left-foot snap from the boundary, showing the form that got him elevated to the club’s primary list.

Inspired by Stengle’s masterful finish, the VFL Tigers added another two majors before the first term drew to a close, with Morris and Thomas Silvestro putting their name on the scoresheet for the first time.

Jake Batchelor was yet again a force to be reckoned with in the defensive half, extinguishing a plethora of attacking forays as Geelong fought hard to get back into the game.

He was well deputised by Ryan Garthwaite, who was combining with Batchelor to provide excellent aerial presence at every contest.

Youngster Jack Graham impressed in his first quarter of football for Richmond, providing excellent presence in the centre of the ground and tackling with ferocity.

Graham played out the remainder of the second quarter, before being rested for the second half.

The intensity of the contest continued into the second quarter, with Morris’ second and Ben Lennon’s first keeping Cats at bay.

Lennon quickly fired again for a second, before Stengle proved again why the snap is his showpiece, this time throwing one on his trusty right foot to also record his second.

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While the rejuvenated Cats came out with intent in the third quarter, kicking the first three goals in quick succession, the VFL Tigers showed composure to stem the tide and eventually increase the lead to 38 points at the final break.

Morris added a third to his quickly growing tally, while the forwards were sharing the ball with great effect, ending the quarter with nine individual goalkickers.

The forwards were thriving on the deadly combination of Ivan Maric and Miles, the latter finishing the quarter with eight clearances to his name.

Oleg Markov provided a strong presence off half-back, his electrifying pace a standout as he raced to 15 disposals with a quarter still to play.

Showing terrific focus in the face of a determined Geelong outfit, the VFL Tigers rounded off the fourth quarter with goals to Wood and Jake Aarts, before Morris’ fourth gave the Tiger fans plenty to cheer about as the contest drew to a close.

With three wins from three games at the Swinburne Centre this season, the VFL Tigers will again play at home next week against the Northern Blues on Sunday. The match will kick off at midday.

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