Tigers deny Mick Malthouse victory in his return to coaching AFL.Richmond earned a morale boosting five-point win against Carlton to begin their AFL premiership campaign, but they were made to earn it the hard way.
In front of a massive crowd of 80,971 crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Tigers hung on to claim their first win this year as the Blues came home with a head of steam in the last quarter.
The victory might be a turning point for Richmond coach Damien Hardwick and his side, with the Tigers of past seasons too often giving up big leads and losing close games.
It looked as if history would repeat itself with the black and gold men at one stage holding a 42-point lead, only to see the Blues chip away at it in the final few minutes.
But a courageous and well-timed tackle from Luke McGuane with the clock running down earnt the Tigers a free kick, sealing Richmond’s first win against Carlton since 2008.
Tigers’ midfield star Trent Cotchin, who had 33 disposals for the night, said the side would take a win any way they could get it against Carlton.
“We had a handy lead and it was disappointing to let them back into it, but a win is a win,” Cotchin said.
“Hopefully we can work on the things that let us down tonight and work on getting better against the Saints next weekend.”
Tyrone Vickery, who provided Richmond with an extra target up front and booted 3.1, said the win will lift the club.
“It’s good to be back fit and strong and it was a great win for the club tonight,” he said.
Carlton kicked the first three goals of the game to jump out to handy lead, but as has happened in every game in the first round, the early front-runner has been hauled in, with the Tigers drawing level by the end of the first quarter.
The Blues played on at every chance and scored almost at will because of their speed across the ground early as their big name players gained important touches.
Mitch Robinson was sent off under the new concussion sub rule in the second quarter with Arron Joseph taking his place for the Blues.
A brilliant Chris Yarran goal for Carlton gave them a spark despite trailing by 30, but it was all the Tigers in the second, with Dustin Martin’s snap from the pocket giving his side a 38 point lead at the long break.
Richmond had a stranglehold of the game after booting seven goals for the term.
Carlton continued to be hammered in the clearances as the game entered the third quarter, with Marc Murphy being dominated and the Tigers streaking ahead because of quality possession.
Brett Deledio showed off his versatility in going forward for the Tigers often and kicked his third for the game to make the lead 42.
The Blues upped the pressure mid-way through third quarter, but again they were losing quality possession through a clear hit-outs.
A Chris Judd snap cut the margin to just 28 and the momentum had swung the way of Carlton, as the game began to open up.
The former Carlton skipper was everywhere in the third as he landed a tough kick from 40 metres out to make it 21.
However, the Blues’ discipline started to unravel as they scored consecutive goals thanks to back-to-back 50 metre penalties and Chris Yarran was reported for striking,
Richmond entered the last quarter up by 36 points and Carlton crucially scored first through Bryce Gibbs to keep them in the hunt.
The Blues dominated contested possessions 22-10 to keep the comeback fires burning, and when Jeff Garlett snapped from the pack, the margin was just 12.
Garlett bagged his second soon after and the result was back on the table with the Tigers’ lead whittled down to seven with under four minutes remaining
Matthew Kreuzer and and Yarran both missed goals which could have given the Blues the lead, allowing McGuane to pull off his last second heroics for the Tigers, sparking celebrations from the players and the club faithful.