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VFL Tigers’ heart shines through in gloomy win over Blues

VFL R11: Moore boots a bag Watch Callum Moore highlights from Richmond VFL's Round 11 win over the Northern Blues.

A team can be defined by its composition, culture and connection, and a brand by its uniqueness.

In near arctic conditions, you got the sense that the team with the strongest connection, the more entrenched brand, and a willingness to fight for one another would be victorious.

That team was Richmond, as the Tigers willed themselves to every contest and out-worked the Blues to record a blue-collar, 13.14 (92) to 7.12 (54) win.

From the opening bounce, rain was pelting down sideways, and the Tigers went to work on cashing in on the stiff breeze, which was howling towards the northern end.

It was clear from the get-go, this wasn’t going to be a game for the purest.

Territory was the prime objective, as players from both sides kicked, handballed, punched, slapped and scrapped the ball forward at all costs.

VFL report: Round 11

On days like this, players that are clean with the ball stand-out like beacons, and in the first quarter, none shone brighter than Corey Ellis.

Ellis was sturdy over the ball, and slotted the opening major via a cool snap on his trusty left boot.

The silky on-baller was to goal again in the opening term, this time his set-shot sailed through on the breeze to perfection.

Zippy forward, Max O’Sullivan made the most of a kick-in intercept in the shadows of quarter-time, with Tigers entering the first change, 21 points to the good.

The Blues made the most of the wind in the second term, slotting 2.5 to 1.5, and had worked their way back into the game.

Connor Menadue, fresh from AFL duties, showcased his cleanness by hand and penetration by foot in the second term and had the Blues midfield chasing his tail on numerous occasions.

Menadue’s willingness to run-and-carry was priceless in the wintery conditions and allowed the Tigers to gain territory and then set-up defensively to thwart any counter-attacks.

Richmond’s backline wasn’t brimming with AFL talent, however it had a boot load of heart, grit and nous.

Names like Joel Ernest, Brenton Credlin and Daniel Coffield are relatively unknown to the majority, but their worth is held in extremely high regard at Tigerland.

VFL R11: Oh we're from Tigerland

Today’s win was about the collective, and Ernest, Credlin and Coffield were granite-like key pillars down back.

As VFL backline coach, Ryan Ferguson put it post-match, “Joel (Ernest) was caught in the one-v-one in the cage, deep a few times and the more he isolated him, the more he just grew and played better.”

The Tigers clung to a handy 15-point lead at the main break, then, aided by a howling gale, blew the game open in the third term.

The conditions weren’t exactly accommodating to key forwards, but Callum Moore bucked that trend in the second half.

Moore was enormous in the third term, as he jagged three of Richmond’s six majors and showcased why he was back after a string of games at AFL level.

The dynamic key forward slotted his first courtesy of some slick play from stand-in skipper, Jake Aarts, who found Moore free inside-50, with Moore’s set-shot sailing through.

Moore worked tirelessly to find space once again inside-50 and Corey Ellis speared one onto his chest, with Moore converting his set-shot once again.

His third major of the term defied logic.

With Moore, hemmed in on the boundary in the Jack Dyer Stand pocket, Morore sprinted after the ball, gathered, saved the ball from the points, threw the ball on his right-boot, and watched it sail through on the breeze.

The Tigers slammed on six goals to the Blues’ one, and waltzed into the final change with an unassailable 37-point lead.

The Blues kept grinding away and slotted four goals to the Tigers three in the final term, however Callum Moore added another two to his tally, to take it to five for the day.

Moore’s five-goal haul was simply outstanding given the conditions, and is a superb way to stay on the radar for future senior selection.

Craig McRae was beaming with pride after the game, labelling it as “my favourite win of the year” and with the heart and connection on display from siren-to-siren, it’s not hard to see why.

RICHMOND   3.5       4.10     10.13   13.14 (92)

NORTHERN  0.2       2.7       3.8       7.12 (54)