Richmond hosted Casey at the Swinburne Centre in an Anzac Day Eve prelude to the AFL clash across Yarra Park at the MCG later on Saturday evening.
The Demons headliners included Ben Brown, Sam Weideman and Majak Daw, who all gave the Tigers headaches at various stages and aided their side in a 59-point win, the final score, 13.18 (96) to 5.7 (37).
On the corresponding night in 2019, Sydney Stack made the football world stand up and take notice after his iconic hip-and-shoulder on Jack Viney.
In 2021, it didn’t long for Stack to make an imprint on the Round 2 VFL game.
With Riley Collier-Dawkins surveying the 50-metre arc, Stack positioned himself behind the left shoulder of his opponent and Collier-Dawkins placed the ball beautifully to the advantage of Stack.
Stack then showcased his poise and class by nursing the ball through from an acute angle for the opening goal of the game.
On a tough day, Samson Ryan and Mabior Chol challenged each other for the best solo efforts of the day as Ryan kicked one of the goals of the year and Chol was at his springy, marking best.
Ryan, outnumbered three to one at half-forward in front of the Jack Dyer Stand watched the incoming ball sail over his head and skid inside 50.
The 206cm ruckman then held the Demons’ defenders at bay, kept his feet and a clear mind, soccered the ball multiple times then chipped the ball off the deck from 30 metres out, clearing the outstretched hands on the goal line.
His celebration almost matched the goal.
Chol went head-to-head with Daw for much of the day and rose over the Demon to drag down a superb grab deep in the forward pocket.
The sodden Sherrin meant little to Chol as he marked nearly every ball that came his way in very trying conditions.
The Tiger big man finished the game with 11 disposals, 2.1, seven marks and five tackles in a warming display.
Chol was aptly supported by emerging ruckman/forward, Callum Coleman-Jones who’s standing is growing by the week.
Coleman-Jones stiffened up the Tigers in the ruck in the second half, as he too adapted seamlessly to the conditions and tried his heart out to drag his side back into the game.
The burgeoning big man looks to be on the cusp of an AFL recall and did his case no harm today, finishing with 18 disposals, nine marks, 29 hit outs and 1.0.
Patrick Naish is another young Tiger who is in the eye of the AFL selectors and would have bumped his name up the list with 28 disposals, 13 rebound 50s and five marks.
Naish’s drive, run and overlap is ever important for Richmond and stands out on game day.
The Tigers dominated territory in the early going but failed to cash in on that dominance on the scoreboard.
The Demons then took their chances as the momentum swung, slamming on four consecutive goals and skating to a three-goal lead.
Callum Coleman-Jones then pegged one back for the hosts after some brilliant work up the field from Maurice Rioli, Brad Melville and Stack.
Rioli created the turnover at half-back; Stack then outwitted a Casey defender on the outer wing and Melville forced the ball inside 50 in the direction of Coleman-Jones.
It was Richmond personified.
Coleman-Jones finished off the good work, as he’s done for the majority of the year so far.
Casey answered back swiftly and took a three-goal lead into the first change.
The Demons were boosted by Brown and Daw in the second term as they both stamped their mark on the contest, both figuratively and literally.
The duo controlled the air and Casey kicked three goals on the trot, two to Brown, opening up a 39-point lead.
Richmond trailed by 33 points at the main break, with plenty of work to do.
Chol then kicked the opening goal of the second half and dragged the margin back under five goals.
After that, the heavens opened and Casey answered the challenge, kicking three goals in a row to end the third term 51 points clear.
The Tigers fought and scrapped in the last quarter, but the Demons’ class and organisation fended off the host's parry.
Richmond will travel to Avalon Airport Oval to face Werribee on Saturday, May 1 from 2.05pm, streamed live on 7plus.
TIGERS 2.4 3.5 4.5 5.7 (37)
DEMONS 5.4 8.8 11.14 13.18 (96)
Richmond: Chol (2), Coleman-Jones (1), Stack, (1), Ryan (1)
Casey: Brown (4), Weideman (3), White (2), Munro (1), Foot (1), Machaya (1), Bradtke (1)