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VFL Tigers show the love and see off Hawks

VFL R13: Oh we're from Tigerland Watch the boys sing the song after the Round 13 win over Box Hill.

The intangible feeling of love and connection at the Richmond Football Club was there for the football world to see on Thursday night and also on Saturday.

When a Tiger comrade went down and endured hardship, his fellow comrades expressed their unconditional love, in tremendous displays of solidarity and unity.

On Thursday night it was the luckless Reece Conca who dislocated his left ankle and was swamped by his teammate—on Saturday it was the much loved, Anthony Miles.

Late in the final term, Miles tracked the ball back with the flight in customary courageous fashion and unfortunately tripped, with his head colliding with Hawk, Kurt Heatherley’s hip.

Miles lay concussed, face-first on the turf.

He was assessed by the club doctors, who slipped him into a neck-brace and onto a stretcher, where, like with Conca, his teammates flocked to be by his side and show their love and support.

Miles was sent to hospital for precautionary measures, but was up and talking in the rooms post-match.

This was a combative game between two top-four aspirants, with the Hawks coming to Punt Road Oval with a clear intent to throw their weight around and test the ladder-leading Tigers.

The Tigers, fresh off a bye, welcomed the Box Hill Hawks to the Swinburne Centre, keen to prove once again, why they’re the pace-setter in 2018.

Richmond was held goalless in the opening term, but flexed its muscle thereafter to record a heart-warming 47-point win, 14.11 (95) to 6.12 (48).

Box Hill’s ability to defend somewhat mirrored the Tigers, and held it in good stead in the opening term, with both sides repelling their opposition’s forward thrusts at will.

Hawk veteran, David Mirra proved impassable early-on, with the Tigers continually picking him out on entering the forward-50.

After both sides peppered the goals, Ryan Schoenmakers broke the first quarter deadlock, slotting the opener for the Hawks who went into quarter-time seven-points ahead.

The Tigers weren’t their usual, clean and zippy selves, and were scrappy in the front-half.

The second term ignited, with spot-fires ablaze left, right and centre, with the Hawks upping the ante with their physicality and niggle.

After a goalless first quarter, the Tigers slammed on five-goals-to-four, with the likes of Tyson Stengle, Jake Aarts, Callum Moore and Patrick Naish righting the ship.

Jake Aarts snapped our first for the day, and kicked two for the term, along with Stengle, while Naish provided the highlight of the term.

In a nest of Hawks, Naish shrugged-off a would-be tackler, side-stepped out of congestion and snapped truly on his right.

Naish kicked another pearler from 50 in the third term, which truly highlighted his class with ball in hand.

Box Hill slotted two goals from 50-metre penalties in the second term, as it continually tested Richmond’s discipline threshold.

Cool heads were needed if the Tigers were to prevail, and after halftime the leaders and young-guns alike really came to the fore.

With the Hawks just edging the Tigers in the clinches, Shai Bolton, Liam Baker and Connor Menadue were thrust from the frying pan into the fire, sparking their side in the second half.

Ivan Soldo got on top of Marc Pittonet, which brought Bolton, Baker and Menadue into the game.

The trio were sharp, clean and zipped through congestion to kick-start the Tigers run-and-carry game, as they torched the Hawks on the outside.

As the game quickened up, Callum Moore came into his own.

His tireless work-rate allowing him to continually find space in the front half and presented a beacon for his teammates up the field.

His kicking was a little wayward at times in very blustery conditions, but his hit the scoreboard with two final-term majors to seal the deal for the Tigers.

Bolton showed his poise in front of goal in the last quarter, as he zipped and dodged his way through congestion, steadied on 50 and kicking truly to cap-off a sterling performance.

Known more for his forward craft, this was a game that showed that may be remembered for the birth of Shai Bolton, the slick and silky midfielder.

Liam Baker was his crafty and industrious self, and one that relished the antagonistic way the Hawks went about it.

Connor Menadue’s drive and penetrating right-boot were telling, but it was his work in the contest and that shone brightest.

The major ball winners for the Tigers were Corey Ellis (team-high, 27 disposals), Liam Baker, Sam Lloyd, and Connor Menadue racked-up 23 disposals, while Shai Bolton finished with 22.

The win highlighted the maturity of this group and a strong belief in each other, the system and a willingness to embrace the fight.

RICHMOND   0.2       5.5       9.9       14.11 (95)

BOX HILL       1.3       5.8       6.10     6.12 (48)

Goals

Richmond: Patrick Naish (2), Callum Moore (2), Jake Aarts (2), Tyson Stengle (2), Shai Bolton, Kamdyn McIntosh, Tom Silvestro, Brandon Wood, Jacob Ballard, Callum Coleman-Jones

Box Hill: James Worpel (2), James Cousins, Dylan Moore, Ryan Schoemakers, Mackenzie Doreian