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VFL Tigers secure fifth spot

VFL R19: Oh we're from Tigerland Watch the VFL boys sing the song after the Round 19 win over Coburg.

Richmond VFL 17.17-119 def Coburg 4.9-33

The VFL Tigers capped off the 2017 home and away season in emphatic form, putting Coburg to the sword by 86 points on Sunday.

In blustery conditions at the Swinburne Centre, Coburg came out all guns firing in the opening quarter, taking the lead by four points at the first break.

The VFL Tigers recovered well to dominate the second quarter, and barely looked back as they stormed home to a commanding victory.

Richmond development coach Xavier Clarke said his side recovered well from the early pressure of the visitors to notch up another dominant victory at the Club’s Punt Road Oval headquarters.

“Full credit to Coburg today, at quarter time there was only a goal in it,” Clarke said.

“They bought the heat and some pressure early on, so for us it was a very workman-like win.

“To be able to get to the contest first, get the ball forward and get goals on the scoreboard is always pleasing.”

With Sunday’s weather conditions changing on the hour, it was difficult for either side to gain the ascendancy, with Coburg’s inaccuracy helping the Tigers in the first quarter.

Their return of one goal and seven behinds in the opening stanza reflected the difficulty presented in the tumultuous conditions, with both sides struggling to adapt.

After a rare entry inside 50, Brandon Wood nailed the first of the day, however a quick return from the Coburg’s Liam Hunt had the sides almost inseparable by the first break.

However, with the wind at their backs in the second stanza, the VFL Tigers took the contest by the scruff of the neck and put clear daylight between themselves and the travelers.

Quick-fire majors to Ben Lennon and Shai Bolton provided some much needed breathing space, before Wood’s second put all the momentum in the Tigers corner.

Lennon added one more before Jake Aarts nailed his first, before unlikely hero Daniel Coffield nailed his first goal of the season with a thumping effort from outside 50.

With a 36-point lead in tow at half-time, the Tigers were feeling confident, and as the wild conditions died down, they began to show the style of football that has seen them bolster fifth position on the ladder.

Ben Griffiths nailed his first major since his initial return from injury against Werribee, snapping cleverly out of a tight situation in the forward pocket, much to the delight of the onlooking Tiger fans.

Fellow returning forward Steve Morris then added his name to the ever-growing list of goalkickers, before Aart’s second extended the lead to 50 points in the shadows of three quarter time.

Captain Sam Darley was in inspired form, displaying precise delivery and excellent vision as he provided quality ball use off half-back.

On the opposing flank, Jayden Short was using his explosive pace and versatility to good use, rebounding with great effect and combining well with the hard-working midfield group.

With the match all but over by the final quarter, the VFL Tigers knuckled down and maintained the intensity until the final siren, adding four more goals to put the cherry on top of a rousing victory.

Ivan Soldo, who had combined well in the ruck with Shaun Hampson for a collective total of 60 hitouts, moved forward to add two goals to his impressive performance, while Tom Silvestro was also given reward for his relentless pressure when he kicked truly from close range.

With the win securing fifth position on the ladder in the final round of the home-and-away season, the VFL Tigers will face Collingwood in a bumper elimination final clash next weekend.