AFL Round 21: Hawks keep finals hopes alive with win over Tigers

It’s Saturday night. The game’s only on Ten. There are no changes to either team. Graham Polak runs out for the Tigers in the protective head gear. Max Bailey runs out, for the first time in three years and two knee reconstructions. Riley Milne is debuting for the Hawks. There were plenty of stories in the lead up of this game. Richmond wins the toss and kick to the Punt Road end.

The game gets underway, and the Tigers look pretty good. Riewoldt snaps the Tigers’ first. Dowler marks a long Muston kick at the other end and goes back and converts. Jackson takes a mark for the Tigers and puts them back in front. Thursfield comes off for the Tigers after a nasty clash with Hawthorn’s Shiels. Franklin’s radar isn’t on tonight. He misses three in the first quarter alone. Lewis marks and kicks the Hawks’ second. At quarter time it’s Hawthorn by four, 2.2 14 to 2.6 18, after a funny old quarter of chance wasting and stupid frees. Brown, Deledio and Jackson all have six possessions for Richmond and Franklin leads for Hawthorn with nine.

The second quarter begins and Morton snaps around his body for a goal to put Richmond in front. Franklin has three bites of the footy before marking it but he kicks truly on this occasion. The Hawk’s build pressure. Rioli intercepts the kick-in, gives it off to Franklin who unselfishly gives Kennedy a goal. Morton marks and goals for Richmond to keep them right in it. Osborne gets free for Hawthorn inside 50 and bananas a goal through the big sticks. Cousins replies quickly, and Franklin marks again and kicks a goal again. The scores are coming quickly. Rioli crumbs and squeezes one through on the run. Franklin misses an easy one, but then he bursts through a couple of tackles and kicks a goal. It’s the Buddy show. Nathan Brown snaps a needed goal for Richmond, and for him, as he needs to re-gain some touch if he wants to play next year. Rioli gives away a 50 metre penalty, and Tambling walks in and kicks another. Richmond should get another goal, but Nahas (who kicked all of Richmond’s three behinds in the first half) misses a dying opportunity just before the siren. At Half time it’s Richmond trailing the Hawks by 14, after an 11-goal second quarter. 7.3 45 to 8.11 59. Hodge and Deledio have 18 possessions each for their respective sides.

The third quarter begins and McGuane’s run through the middle sets up a goal for Riewoldt. The Tigers look good, but they have to improve their kicking in the forward half. Kennedy stuffs up a big chance for a goal and Franklin misses a couple of set shots. 3.6! Dowler grabs it and kicks it in one motion for a goal and Hodge dummies around his opponent and kicks an amazing goal from just inside 50. The highlights reel is getting larger by the minute. Riewoldt gets his third goal and Richmond are still a good chance. But it all falls apart when Franklin smashes into Cousins who collapses on to the ground. Dowler snaps a goal and Cousins comes off. McGuane hits Osborne which gives Hawthorn another shot on goal as a direct result. He drills it to make the margin 28 points. The game goes up about ten notches. The crowd are right in to it, especially when Franklin gets the ball. Rioli shows same magic and kicks a goal just before the siren. At the break Richmond trail, 9.6 60 to 13.14 92. Hodge and Deledio have 27 possessions each for their respective sides.

The Hawks dominate proceeding at the start of the term; Osborne is on the end of a good clearance and kicks a goal. The heavily-strapped-eared Tuck gets a 50 and drills one home, and he gets it again and drives one through from 50. Morton marks next to the behind post and runs around to kick a goal. There is still belief left in the Tiger camp. It’s only 19 points. Quick replies from McGlynn and Franklin make the result confirmed, and Mitchell kicks it quickly out of the centre to Franklin who goes back and kicks his fifth. Meanwhile, the Tigers were struggling to field 18 players. Cousins and Thursfield were still off, and Newman and Thomson were both ginger. Edwards also came off with a poked eye, and Jackson had an injury concern. Deledio marks, runs through and answers for Richmond. Dowler takes a clever mark and kicks his fourth, having only kicked four previously in his career. He also added to the list of unusual goal kickers this round, with Jamar’s feat of five for the Dees today. Deledio (who was easily the best for Richmond) kicks his second for the quarter, and goals from Kennedy and McGlynn see out the rest of the game. Hawthorn win convincingly, 14.9 93 to 20.15 135.

Deledio lead all comers on the ground with 36 possessions (career high) and the next best for Richmond was Brown with 25. Mitchell had 35 touches for Hawthorn; Hodge had 30 and Bateman 29. It was a convincing 42-point win, but I have a feeling that it was a game that lacked something. It never got very close.

With Brisbane coming from behind to beat Port Adelaide, let’s hope that Essendon can lose so there will be a huge blockbuster in Round 22 for eighth spot.

Richmond  2.2  7.3  9.6  14.9 (93)
Hawthorn  2.6  8.11  13.14  20.15 (135)

Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Morton 3, Tuck 2, Deledio 2, Brown, Cousins, Jackson, Tambling.
Hawthorn: Franklin 5, Dowler 4, Osborne 3, Rioli 2, McGlynn 2, Kennedy 2, Hodge, Lewis.

Richmond: Deledio, Jackson, Tuck, Edwards, Morton, Riewoldt.
Hawthorn: Franklin, Hodge, Mitchell, Lewis, Bateman, Muston, Birchall, Shiels, Savage, Kennedy, Dowler.

My Votes: 3. Lance Franklin (Haw), 2. Luke Hodge (Haw), 1. Sam Mitchell (Haw).

Umpires: Kennedy, Nicholls, Hendrie.                 Crowd: 34,779 at the MCG.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

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