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VFL Tigers have fun in the sun

VFL R16: Oh we're from Tigerland Watch the boys sing the song after the round 16 win over Sandringham.

“Have comfort in your pillow”, Richmond VFL coach, Craig McRae.

Richmond prides itself on the support net that its VFL program provides and urges players like Shai Bolton and Corey Ellis to embrace the comfort it offers.

The Tigers produced yet another powerful connected performance, built on the back of its trademark defensive imperiousness.

Richmond held Sandringham scoreless in the first quarter, opening up a 59-point lead at the first change, and skated to a 20.13 (133) to 9.13 (67) win.

The Zebras hold the title as contested ball kings of the VFL, and the only time they’d been bested in that area, was by the Tigers.

Victory hinged on the war of attrition in the clinches and Richmond flexed its superiority in the first term like a title holder with a point to prove.

Everywhere the Zebras turned, they were met by a barrage of yellow and black, with the Tigers pressuring and harassing their hosts into submission.

Liam Baker returned from his trip to western Sydney and displayed the form that has him squarely in the selection frame at AFL level.

The Tigers kicked with the breeze in the opening term, and it was Baker who judged the flight of the ball to perfection to scoot in for the opening goal of the game.

Before the Tiger faithful had finished celebrating, Sam Lloyd bobbed up and slotted his first from long range, which initiated the avalanche.

Goals to Jacob Ballard, Blake Grewar, Tom Silvestro, Silvestro again, Baker, Lloyd and Anthony Miles rounded out the quarter, and set up a match-winning 59-point lead.

Nine goals in a quarter suggests that the Tigers where lethal in attack, but it’s dominance was built on the back of its stifling pressure, and iron clad defensive system.

Sandringham was stung into action in the second quarter, and evened up the ledger around the ball, slotting two goals to one for the term.

Richmond’s seventh debutant for the year, budding key-forward, Joel Cusack had a hand in its sole major of the quarter.

With the ball in dispute inside-50, Cusack seized his moment.

He slapped the ball into the path of a barnstorming Anthony Miles, who burst his way through congestion to hand the ball to Noah Balta free in the goal-square.

Balta gleefully strolled in for his first of the day.

In the third quarter, Richmond set-out to match its first-quarter effort, and it fell short by one goal.

The Tigers turned the pressure valve up once again, with experienced heads in Jacob Townsend, Sam Lloyd and Miles setting the tone around the ball.

Jake Aarts was a welcome return from a two-week suspension, with his tenacity and class shining through with a duo of third-term majors.

The second was a peach, as he swooped on a loose ball and dribbled one through from the boundary in front of the Zebras’ faithful.

Shai Bolton rose to prominence in the third term, continuously showcasing his dazzling agility, speed and skill.

Bolton was deployed across half-back this week in a bid to add some versatility to his game, and he looked more than comfortable viewing the game from behind the ball.

He used his cat-like reflexes to wreak havoc in congestion, cause turnovers and then explode on the counter attack.

Patrick Naish was another who played to his strengths, which allowed him to produce his best performance in the yellow and black.

The dashing winger is developing superb balance to his game, with his defensive work building week-by-week, which is allowing him to get involved in attacking forays.

Naish finished the game with a career-high 32 disposals, 10 marks and also 10 handball receives.

Bolton racked up 21 disposals and continually surged the ball forward.

Sandringham came home with a wet sail, slotting five-goals-to-two in the final term, as the Tigers struggled to finish off its work inside-50 and leaked a little down back.

However, the damage was well and truly done by this stage as the Tigers cruised home as the sun set on the bay.

Sam Lloyd was prominent once again, finishing with 29 disposals and two goals, while partner in crime, Anthony Miles slotted back in seamlessly with a team-high 36 disposals.

Liam Baker set the tone with two goals in the opening term, finishing the day with 19 disposals and a team-high three goals.

The Tigers will sleep easy tonight in the comfort that when they bring their imperious intent, not too many teams can match them.

RICHMOND    9.5       10.8     18.12   20.13 (133)

S’DRINGHAM 0.0      2.2       4.5       9.13 (67)


Richmond: Baker (3), Grewar (2), Lloyd (2), Silvestro (2), Balta (2), Aarts (2), Miles (1), Townsend (1), Stengle (1), Wood (1), Ballard (1), Cusack (1), Soldo (1)

Sandringham: Haidon (3), Connellan (2), Freeman (1), Lamb (1), Langlands (1), Smith (1)