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Tigers dominate in Dreamtime

Wins of 2018: R11 Watch the highlights from the 2018 Dreamtime at the 'G win.
Josh Caddy and Shane Edwards celebrate on of their six combined goals in Saturday night's win - Richmond Tigers,Essendon Bombers,MCG
Josh Caddy and Shane Edwards celebrate on of their six combined goals in Saturday night's win

RICHMOND has continued its dominance over Essendon and all comers at its MCG fortress, winning by a record Dreamtime at the ‘G margin of 71 points on Saturday night.

The reigning premier claimed its seventh successive victory over Essendon, its fourth successive Dreamtime win and a remarkable 15th successive win at the MCG – second only to Melbourne’s record of 17 in 1955-56.

Adding injury to insult for the Bombers in their 17.12 (114) to 6.7 (43) loss, star midfielder David Zaharakis suffered a suspected broken collarbone after being gang-tackled in the first term.

Before a crowd of 81,046, the second-placed Tigers delivered a brutal reality check to the Dons, who had bounced back to win their previous two games after their season had been roundly written off after a catastrophic round seven loss to the previously winless Carlton.

A contest that had promised so much appeared over in the first quarter when Richmond rattled on the first five goals to open up a 32-point lead, as the Bombers had no answers for the Tigers’ irrepressible run, relentless pressure and disciplined defensive mechanisms.

Compounding matters for Essendon was the injury to Zaharakis and, soon after, there were concerns that teammate Orazio Fantasia had sustained a right leg problem. Mercifully for the Bombers, Fantasia played out the game but had little impact.

The complexion of the game changed either side of the first break when Essendon lifted its intensity and became cleaner with the dewy ball to snare four of the next five goals and reduce the margin to just 12 points midway through the second term.

The Dons would have been within seven points had 100th-gamer Jake Stringer nailed a regulation set shot.

That was the cue for Richmond to once again flex its bulging muscles, and this time the Tigers added the next six goals, and nine of the next 10 to storm to a 64-point advantage by three-quarter-time.

Shane Edwards (a game-high 30 possessions, two goals and several scoring assists) received the Yiooken Award as the clear best-afield, while superstar Dustin Martin (28 touches and a goal) was also superb, though wasn’t as dominant as his recent outings against the Dons.

Tigers opportunist Josh Caddy (four goals) continued his rich vein of form, while long-kicking speedster Jayden Short (a career-high 28 disposals) was typically enterprising.

One of the few positives for the Bombers was the overall performance of Stringer, who played predominantly in the midfield and produced his best game in some time, gathering career-high tallies of possessions (29), contested possessions (16) and clearances (nine, including five centre clearances).

Tigers spearhead Jack Riewoldt, who suffered concussion last week, was kept to one goal by Cale Hooker.

Riewoldt was outshone by four-game key forward Callum Moore, who competed strongly and kicked 2.3.

In Richmond mentor Damien Hardwick’s 400th game as a player and coach combined, his team also consigned his former club to its first loss this season to a 2017 finallist.

Richmond now leads Essendon 8-6 in Dreamtime clashes.

ESSENDON    1.3   4.5    5.6   6.7 (43)
RICHMOND   5.4   9.6  15.10  17.12 (114)

Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Smith, Z.Merrett, Fantasia, Laverde
Richmond: Caddy 4, Butler 2, Edwards 2, Nankervis 2, Moore 2, Martin, Ellis, Riewoldt, Graham, Menadue 

Essendon: Stringer, Smith, McKernan, Hooker, Merrett
Richmond: Edwards, Martin, Caddy, Nankervis, Short, Conca, Vlastuin, 

Essendon: Zaharakis (collarbone)
Richmond: Nil 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Findlay, Gianfagna

Official crowd: 81,046 at the MCG