Jack Riewoldt kicks seven goals to help stave off a desperate St Kilda side.
Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt booted seven goals against St Kilda to help the Tigers overcome an important psychological barrier early in the AFL season.
In 2012, the Tigers lost six games by two goals or less with the damning statistic the difference between the black and golds playing finals football and looking from the outside in during September.
But after their 14.15 (99) to 12.10 (82) victory against the Saints, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick and his men should begin to believe they have the skills and early-season fitness to run out close games.
Jack Riewoldt was sensational up forward for the victors, with a deeper position in the forward line allowing him to throw himself into every contest.
Despite the loss for the Saints, it was a night out for the Riewoldt family, with Nick bagging four to see the cousins kick 11 of the 26 goals in the game.
The win for the Tigers, which comes off the back of their heat-stopping in the first round against Carlton, incredibly means the club will start 2-0 for the first time in 16 years.
The contest for the ball meant the game was played in tight but without stoppages in the first quarter with neither side able to hang on to possession for long.
But in the blink of an eye the Tigers began to find space in the midfield with a goal to last week’s last-minute hero Like McGuane blowing the margin out to 14.
McGuane started to look dangerous up forward for the Tigers in getting a couple of big marks, with
his second shot on goal giving Richmond some breathing space.
But was their mantra all game, the Saints hung around enough to give Hardwick and his troops some concerns, with Ahmed Saad nabbing a goal last in the first quarter to see the Saints trail by 10.
Richmond did not get the ball deep enough into their forward 50, while St Kilda showed their ability to rebound and launch counter-attacks.
Dustin Martin was busy for Richmond in the first period in racking up 11 disposals while Brett Deledio
kept up his excellent form so far this season with nine.
Nick Riewoldt did well to kick off the ground to continue the momentum for the Saints early in the
second quarter as the free-flowing game tested both side’s fitness.
Jack Riewoldt, who has kicked bags of between six and eight goals against the Saints before, bagged his third for the game when he snapped well from close range to take the margin back out to 15 in response to the Saints’ surge.
Jake King made up for silly free kick given away well off the ball to skillfully finish from a tight angle
to drag the margin back out to 20 for the Tigers.
But again the Saints did enough to give themselves a sniff at victory with the margin less than three goals at the long break.
“It’s pretty tough out here, we’d like to have some more stoppages, but they are very skillful with the ball,” Saints ruckman Ben McEvoy said,
St Kilda’s Clint Jones had done a great job on Trent Cotchin through the first half with the explosive Tigers’ midfielder restricted to just nine disposals
The Riewoldt show took over in the third term as Jack bagged his fifth to take the margin out to 16 before Nick kicked his second soon after to continue the free-slowing nature of the game.
However, Lenny Hayes missed a great chance to score a late goal to give the Saints momentum late in the third quarter as his side trailed by 11.
Cotchin made up for his slow first half in securing 11 disposals for the term as he looked to lead from the front.
St Kilda’s fitness was tested late in the game after coming off a short turn around from their
game against Gold Coast, which was played in humid conditions.
However, a goal to Saad goal signaled a charge by the Saints as they started to rack up the uncontested possessions, to show they still had some run in their legs.
The pressure and intensity in the game went through the roof with 12 minutes remaining as Jack Riewoldt bagged his seventh goal for just the fourth time in his career after earning a free for a high tackle.
Amazingly, the Tigers’ spearhead only had three marks for his seven goals, showing his ability to crumb well.
Two tights shots at goal by the Saints only resulted in an out-on-the-full and a behind, which took the margin to just 11 as Adam Schneider was in everything for the Saints after coming on as their sub.
However, Ivan Maric capped off the performance by the Tigers when he split goals to seal a sensational win for the Tigers.
Reece Conca was also sensational for Richmond in securing 25 disposals and kicking 1.3.