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VFL Tigers' persistence pays off

VFL R2: Match highlights Highlights of the Round 2 win over Port Melbourne.

Richmond's VFL side registered its first win at home for 2019 on the back of a six-goal final term, withstanding a persistent Port Melbourne, to run out winners, 13.14 (92) to 7.7 (49).

In a hotly-contested affair, the Tigers and Borough fought and scrapped from siren to siren, with Richmond's perseverance and evenness of contribution holding sway.

Richmond’s unrelenting pressure shone bright once again, holding the visitors to a sole goal in the first half, with its defensive unit proving watertight for most of the day.

In a goalless opening term, both sides shared patches of dominance but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard.

Patrick Naish made great position inside 50 on two occasions but sprayed two shots he’d normally kick, and a Dan Butler right-foot snap dribbled the wrong side of the goal post.

While the forwards looked a little rusty, two key Tiger defenders were sharp, alert and resolute.

Ryan Garthwaite and Hugh Beasley were rock-solid down back, halting Port Melbourne and then propelling the Tigers forward at will.

Garthwaite had to contend with Jordan Lisle, while Beasley locked horns with the Borough’s colossal forward, Khan Haretuku.

Both defenders accounted for their direct opponents, and then instigated Richmond’s attacking chains from the back half.

Ivan Soldo was another who held his own in the first quarter, as he went toe-to-toe with Port Melbourne’s man-mountain, Tom Goodwin.

Soldo got his hand to the ball at the ruck contests, was a helping hand down back, and provided a contest whenever the ball was in his area, be it up forward or through the middle.

The defenders dominated again in the second term, but this time in foreign territory.

VFL Tiger James Fletcher snuck forward and hit the scoreboard with a ripping snap from congestion, with Butler setting up the rebounding half-back.

Ben Miller was the next backman to get the Tiger fans roaring, as he rose high, clunking an intercept mark inside 50.

Miller, a laid-back character from country WA, seized the moment and eased through his first goal in the Yellow and Black.

Callum Moore was the man to initially break the goal drought, as he drew a free kick and snapped truly from the Jack Dyer Stand pocket, much to the chagrin of the boisterous Borough faithful.

The goal ignited an already smouldering contest, with Port Melbourne attempting to rattle the Tigers.

First-year Tiger, Luke English was their target, with the unassuming midfielder set the task or curbing the influence of Borough ball magnet, Tom O’Sullivan.

English was unflappable, standing tall as his Tiger brethren rallied by his side.

Butler, returning from AFL duties, then set the game alight with a trademark passage of play.

His pressure and urgency was there from the get-go, but like several of his fellow forwards, he lacked a bit of polish to finish off his good work.

That changed in an instant after Butler found Jake Aarts with an inside-out torp at top speed.

Butler stormed forward off half-back, evading the desperate lunges of Port Melbourne, got the give-and-go from Fraser Turner and found Aarts free inside 50.

And the man playing his 50th game for Richmond VFL kicked truly.

The Tigers held a 21-point lead at half-time and had plenty of work ahead of them to eventually get over the top of the Borough.

Port Melbourne burst out of the blocks in the second half, as Blake Pearson swooped on a loose ball and watched his right-foot snap sail through.

The Borough had found their voice with the travelling hoards of Port Melbourne fans willing their side on from the terrace.

It took another defender to stem the tide for the Tigers.

As Naish caused a turnover on the paint of Richmond’s 50, Dan Coffield streamed down from the back half, accepted the handball from Naish and kicked truly.

The Tigers led by 20 points, but as it has done for over a century, Port Melbourne responded.

Back-to-back goals had the Borough fans crowing once again and an upset on the road was front of mind.

In stepped Fletcher.

Richmond was clinging to a 16-point lead and needed a steadying goal heading into the final change - and Fletcher delivered, for his second major of the day.

In a game which was an arm wrestle from the opening bounce, you felt that the team which capitalised on its chances in the last quarter would prove to be victorious.

Soldo kicked off the goal flurry in the final term, with a soccer goal from close range.

The Borough hit straight back and looked like pressing their claim for an upset, before Butler took matters into his own hands.

Richmond streamed forward off a defensive half turnover and the premiership-winning forward was the last link in the chain, scorching past the clutches of Borough defenders and goaling on the run.

Butler then had a direct hand in the Tigers’ next major, as he handed off to Moore in the goalsquare for what was the sealing goal.

Mabior Chol had to bide his time for the day, with the high turnover game proving tricky for the key forward.

However, when the tide eventually turned the Tigers' way, Chol came into his own and showcased the raw natural ability he possesses.

Chol attacked the ball in the air with a blend of elegance and ferocity, marked strongly and took his chances when they presented, finishing with an equal game-high, two goals.

The VFL Tigers will enjoy a week off before heading on the road to face the Casey Demons in Round 4.

RICHMOND        0.6          4.8          7.10        13.14 (92)

PORT MELB        0.2          1.5          4.7          7.7 (49)

Goal Kickers:

Richmond: Moore (2), Chol (2), Fletcher (2), Butler, Miller, Coffield, Aarts, Grewar, Ballard, Soldo

Port Melbourne: Pearson (2), Haretuku, Templeton, Johnstone, Krakauer, Waddell