RICHMOND has overcome a frenetic Essendon fightback and a record-breaking Darcy Parish masterclass to post a 39-point AFL win in a Dreamtime epic at Perth’s Optus Stadium.
The Tigers looked set for an easy victory in Saturday night’s blockbuster after opening up a 30-point lead late in the third quarter.
But the Bombers hit back hard, booting the first four goals inside 11 minutes of the final term to snatch the lead in front of 55,656 fans.
Momentum was all Essendon’s way at that point, but Richmond’s cream stood up when they needed it most as the defending premiers unleashed a devastating seven-goal blitz to secure the 19.9 (123) to 12.12 (84) win.
Jason Castagna booted his third goal of the night to snatch back the lead midway through the final quarter, and from there it was the Shai Bolton and Dustin Martin show.
Bolton kicked two last-quarter goals – including a twisting and turning effort – either side of Martin’s 50m bomb to help the Tigers open up a match-winning 22-point lead.
The goals continued to flow from there, with Noah Balta, Kamdyn McIntosh, and substitute Daniel Rioli kicking truly to put the icing on the cake.
The result extended Richmond’s winning streak over Essendon to 11 matches, with seven of those Dreamtime clashes.
Parish won the Yiooken Medal as best afield for his 44-disposal, 11-clearance effort – the most possessions ever tallied by an Essendon player in VFL/AFL history.
Bombers forward Brayden Ham booted a career-best three goals, with Cale Hooker also chipping in with three goals.
Martin was Richmond’s best with three goals from 27 disposals, while Bolton and Castagna also finished with three goals to their name.
Both teams suffered injuries to key players.
Bombers midfielder Andrew McGrath succumbed to a game-ending knee injury less than nine minutes into the opening term.
Essendon veteran David Zaharakis suffered a suspected hamstring injury, while Richmond’s Dion Prestia was struck down by a leg injury.
Star Bombers forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti could be in strife for a high bump on Dylan Grimes in the second quarter that left the Richmond defender dazed.
About 10,000 people took part in the pre-match Long Walk, and the atmosphere was electric when the game got underway in front of a sellout crowd.
Richmond ruckman Mabior Chol produced a dominant opening quarter to inspire the Tigers early.
Chol’s power around stoppages and deft touches proved crucial as the Tigers took a 19-point lead into the first break, with Martin also starring.
Essendon appeared set to make their move in the third quarter, but were let down by poor goalkicking time and again.
Ruckman Andrew Phillips had the chance to reduce the margin to 10 points, but his 25m set shot from straight in front missed.
Archie Perkins and Parish also missed gettable shots as the lead ballooned to 30.
Essendon’s fightback – which included an off-the-ball free kick against Martin – sent Bombers fans delirious.
But their joy was short-lived, with Richmond producing a devastating 16-minute burst late in the match to run away with victory.
(C) AAP 2021
RICHMOND 4.3 8.7 12.8 19.9 (123)
ESSENDON 1.2 5.4 8.10 12.12 (84)
Goals: Richmond: D Martin 3 J Castagna 3 S Bolton 3 C Coleman-Jones 2 J Graham 2 J Riewoldt 2 D Rioli J Caddy K McIntosh N Balta. Essendon: B Ham 3 C Hooker 3 A Waterman 2 A Phillips J Stringer K Langford N Cox.
Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Dean Margetts, Dan Johanson.
Official Crowd: 55,656 at Optus Stadium.