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Tangle: Bulldog Lin Jong is tackled by Richmond captain Trent Cotchin at Etihad Stadium.WESTERN BULLDOGS  3.3      5.9      6.11      12.13     (85)RICHMOND 3.1      6.2      8.6      11.9     (75)GOALS Western Bulldogs: Stringer 4, Redpath 2, Bontempelli 2, Smith,  Johannissen,  Suckling,  Dickson. Richmond: Castagna 2,  Riewoldt 2, Edwards 2, BEllis, Griffiths, McBean, Lloyd,  Cotchin.BEST Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Stringer, Macrae, Boyd, Suckling, Wood. Richmond: Martin, Cotchin, Castagna, Markov, Hampson, VlastuinUMPIRES Chamberlain,  Farmer,  Bannister.CROWD 39,679 at Etihad Stadium.
Nanjing Night Net

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick had effectively drawn a line through his side’s top eight prospects after last weekend’s loss to Port Adelaide. But midfielder Anthony Miles said on Friday that his team hoped to shape the logjammed top eight in the final two months of the season.

They very nearly did that at the first attempt, with only four second-half goals from Western Bulldogs livewire Jake Stringer – including the last two of the game – preventing another round 16 upset.

For much of the night, the Dogs looked directionless going forward, beaten 13-5 in contested marks, badly missing Tom Boyd, and being challenged by a Tigers side spurred by the promising performances of teenagers Jason Castagna and Oleg Markov. But with his team behind by a point at the 23-minute mark of the last quarter, Stringer converted a set shot, adding another four minutes later to secure the four points.

The Dogs had six more inside 50s in the first term but used it poorly both on entry and in front of goal. For the second night in a row, the game’s first score came from a player who had made headlines during the week. But where Kieren Jack had converted, Lin Jong sprayed his kick to the right, displaying one of the reasons why he had been in and out of the Luke Beveridge’s side.

Marcus Bontempelli hit the post, before Matt Suckling kicked the game’s first major, spearing the ball home from 45 metres. But the Dogs’ goals were being scrounged rather than created. Their second came about after David Astbury picked out Clay Smith, who duly guided the ball to Jack Redpath in the pocket. Their third was fortuitous too, as Easton Wood’s kick to the goal square ricocheted off the fingertip of Dustin Martin, and into the lap of an eager Smith.

The Tigers were classier going forward. Ben Griffiths got their opener with a neat set shot from 50 metres. It was soon bettered by the effort of skipper Trent Cotchin, who silkily goaled on the run from the arc. Castagna then capitalised on a spilled Jason Johannisen mark, and the margin was just two points at quarter time.

Richmond didn’t have to wait long though to hit the lead. Shane Edwards belied his height to take a contested mark in the pocket, before coolly converting. Hitherto quiet, Jack Riewoldt had two shots within minutes, the latter of which was a goal. Sam Lloyd added another, and Richmond found themselves in front by 12 points.

The Dogs needed a spark, and they found it from Bontempelli, clearly their best player in the first half. Providing rare danger in the Dogs’ forward line, he goaled. Soon after Tory Dickson soccered home from close range, and the Dogs went to half-time with the most slender of advantages.

But they were dealt a blow moments before the siren when Tom Liberatore – who had been lively in the second term – copped a knee to his rib cage. He fell to the ground in agony before eventually making his way to the bench, but his night was over, wheeled away into an ambulance.

Richmond started strongly when the sides returned. Brandon Ellis sprung into action with seven third-quarter disposals, including the term’s first goal. Then Castagna grabbed his second  and again the Tigers led by two goals. With Redpath battling, the Dogs were forced to play Bontempelli forward, robbing them of another key onballer. Martin continued his excellent night, finding the ball 11 times in the term.

But perhaps searching for one fend-off too many, he was caught deep in defence by Stringer. The much-hyped forward had been extremely underwhelming, but  took his chance, and added the Dogs’ sixth. Richmond wasted opportunities as the quarter wore on, and while Smith missed a gilt-edged chance off the ground, the door was open at the final change – the gap just seven points.

The last quarter was chaotic. The Dogs looked on track to prevail when Jason Johannisen and Stringer put through the first two goals. But Riewoldt spotted Liam McBean deep – the young forward finding a fine time to kick the first goal of his fledgling career.

Redpath at long last marked inside 50 but bizarrely played on and failed to score. The Tigers made him pay, with Riewoldt slotting another, before Edwards snapped brilliantly from the pocket. But Redpath made amends, levelling the scores. Stringer’s final acts – after being earlier dragged for a missed tackle – were still to come.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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