Collingwood are within one game of the top eight after winning a thriller against an in-form Richmond in round fourteen of the VFL season at Punt road. Both sides traded blows in a tense final quarter before Lachlan Tardrew snapped a long range goal with only minutes remaining on the clock to see the Pies home, 14.20.104 to 16.6.102. In further bad news for the Tigers, bigman Ben Griffiths was helped from the field early into the second quarter with a shoulder injury and didn’t reappear.
Tom Phillips was the best for the Pies with three goals and 40 disposals around the ground while ruckman Mason Cox (2 goals, 24 disposals, 47 hitouts) was instrumental in the air around the ground in a fine duel with Richmond counterpart, Ivan Maric. Josh Smith (34) worked hard in defence and Jackson Ramsay (26) and Callum Brown (19) also figured in the Magpie’s best. The Tigers had many fine contributors including Tyson Stengle with a game-high four goals, Taylor Hunt (3 goals) was dangerous floating through half-forward while Maric and Jacob Townsend (2 goals) provided plenty of endeavour.
Richmond were looking for their sixth win in-a-row and opened up with the breeze favouring the railway side end. They booted five goals in the quarter however Collingwood were able to snare three important majors at the other end. The second quarter saw the Pies get on top with six goals to three establishing a fifteen point lead at the main break. It could have been a wider margin however, as the Pies squandered chances around goal, going to the break with ten more scoring shots than their opponents.
The wind lifted in the third quarter and the sky darkened as rain loomed but it didn’t dampen the Pies endeavour as they booted the first two goals of the term and when Phillips kicked truly eight minutes in, they led by 27-points and it appeared they had the match on their terms. The Tiger had other ideas however. Richmond booted the next seven goals of the match, Stengle and Townsend with two each, to help the Tigers turn the deficit into a sixteen point lead at the final change.
With Collingwood having the use of a strong breeze in the final quarter neither side could get on target until Cox goaled for the Pies fifteen minutes in to reduce the margin to nine points. Kayle Kirby dribbled one through from the pocket two minutes later to have the Pies within three then at the 26-minute mark a rushed behind had them in front. The vocal crowd were on their feet. The Tigers surged forward and found Stengle who weaved his way out of trouble before his stray shot at goal found Hunt in the opposite pocket. Hunt kicked accurately to the delight of the Tiger faithful and they were back in front by five points.
Nearing the 30 minute mark Tardrew gathered a loose ball at the other end and blasted it through the big sticks to put the Pies back in front. Players tried to wrestle the ball from each other in the final minutes and a final thrust at goal by the Tigers was denied by a telling mark to Cox at centre-half-back. The siren sounded to end a pulsating contest between two of the competitions best supported clubs. The loss drops Richmond from fourth to fifth and they face an away trip next round against bottom side North Ballarat who will be buoyed after their first win of the year against the Blues.
Collingwood are edging closer to the top eight and are home to arch rival Essendon in what looms as a crucial match for both sides chances of playing finals in 2017.
For full match details click on the VFL website here