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VFL Tigers’ second half blitz scorches Roosters

VFL Round 6: Moore's 4 goals Watch Callum Moore kick 4 goals in the Round 6 win over North Ballarat.
Richmond's VFL coach Craig McRae addresses the playing group during Saturday's win.

Richmond’s VFL side secured its second win of the year with a scorching 79-point victory over North Ballarat under lights at Punt Road Oval.

With scores all tied-up at halftime, the Tigers went on a 15-goal rampage in the second-half to run-out winners, 21.16 (142) to 10.3 (63).

The Tigers midfield brigade was bolstered by the long awaited return of key on-baller Reece Conca who added invaluable class and poise at the coalface.

Conca finished with 22 disposals, six clearances and seven tackles but more importantly got through the game unscathed after returning from a hamstring injury.

After a down week against Port Melbourne in Round 5, the Tigers tackling pressure and intensity around the contest improved, allowing them to consistently create turnovers, and they capitalised accordingly.

Not only did their intensity at the ball and the man improve, but their ability to control the ball and get the game played on their terms for the majority went along way to securing the result.

After only recording 48 uncontested marks in their loss to Port Melbourne, Richmond more than doubled that this week after registering 97, allowing it to move the ball with unhampered fluidity.

The twilight curtain-raiser started superbly for the Tigers with their fanatic pressure in the front-half resulting in early goals to Jacob Ballard and Liam McBean which set the hosts in motion.

North Ballarat answered the challenge and slammed on three goals in quick succession which made the Tigers pay for missed opportunities in front of goal.

However, Richmond was rewarded when key-forward Ryan Bathie’s exquisite right-foot checkside from congestion sailed through, which handed the Tigers a three point-lead heading into quarter-time.

Richmond VFL senior coach Craig McRae was pleased with his side’s first quarter efforts and reiterated to the players that “The game is on our terms, so just play our way”.

The second term didn’t begin as planned, with ill-discipline resulting in the Roosters being handed the easiest of goals, and the early lead.

The Roosters raced to an eight-point lead midway through the second term before budding Tiger forward Anthony Scott executed the perfect double-play.

Scott coolly slotted his first major and in the process was awarded a free-kick before the restart, gifting Richmond a six-point lead in the shadows of half-time.

The joy was short lived however as the Roosters caught the Tigers off-guard and squared things up on the stroke of halftime.

Richmond’s first-half effort and intensity could not be questioned, but its ball-use going inside-50 needed sprucing up so it could truly capitalise post half-time.

The second half started swimmingly, as returning Tiger on-baller Conca maneuvered his way through traffic to find Anthony Scott inside-50, who in turn found Liam McBean 15-metres out directly in-front.

And the key Tiger-tall kicked truly.

McBean is somewhat of a barometer for his side, with the enigmatic forward kicking a total of nine goals in Richmond’s two wins this year after his sterling four-goal effort against the Roosters.

This week McBean was not only the focal point, but a perfect foil for burgeoning Richmond swingman Callum Moore who slotted a career and game-high four majors himself.

It was Moore who ignited Richmond’s seven-goal-to-one third term blitz as he sprung from congestion to mark strongly and finished off his impressive aerial display with his first major.

From then on, it was all Richmond, with goals coming to Scott, McBean, Tom Silvestro, Ballard and Bathie as the Tigers surged to a 40-point lead at the final change.

McRae insisted his side celebrate and appreciate the “little wins” and confirmed in his three- quarter time address, “It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s full on footy and it’s our way”.

The Tigers squeezed the life out of the Roosters in a dominant eight-goal final term with Oleg Markov’s four-bounce goal down the Jack Dyer Stand wing delighting the Richmond faithful.

Richmond tackled, harassed and methodically picked apart North Ballarat, displaying the synergy and cohesion that had been lacking in weeks prior.

Richmond midfield bull Jacob Townsend showcased his contested prowess with 25 disposals and 12 tackles as Adam Marcon (26 disposals) and Tom Couch (20 disposals) were pictures of consistency.

The Tigers are developing on-field trust and continuity with one another and head into this week’s bye at 2–4, and are six weeks into a 21-week home and away season.