After two weeks of indifferent results, Damien Hardwick had declared his side needed to get a move on to restore a part of their brand.
It is that manic Richmond style with the chasing, the pressure, and the forward connection that we have become accustomed to that has taken them to three of the last four premierships.
While the Saints fans would have been hopeful that lightning could strike twice and they could forge their way back after their momentous second-half comeback last week would spur the momentum onward this week and further into the season, it wasn’t to be as the two time reigning premiers cruised to a comfortable win in Maddie’s Match at Marvel Stadium.
The Richmond forward line gelled, sharing the goalkicking load, highlighted by a seven-goal onslaught in the third quarter which put St Kilda to the sword. Twin towers Jack Riewoldt and Tom Lynch were both a big presence in the forward half kicking multiple goals each with Jack honoring his cousin with a bag of five majors.
Veteran midfielder Shane Edwards celebrated moving into the top 10 of all-time games played for Richmond list with another prolific display, collecting 28 disposals and seven clearances. Along with the dynamic Shai Bolton who continues to take his game to new levels with 29 disposals, eight score involvements, and a mark that had there been a person under him, would have been a contender for mark of the year.
Dustin Martin was up to his usual tricks in the centre of the ground. While not as damaging by foot as he usually is, he amassed 34 disposals playing predominantly on-ball and was influential around the contest.
Coach Damien Hardwick highlighted the pressure of his side post-game. highlighting the clearance numbers in what was a really Richmond-like brand of football.
“I thought our pressure was very good,” Hardwick said
“It looked like a Richmond game, it felt like a Richmond game and that’s exactly what it was.”
It was looming as a disaster for St Kilda before the ball was even bounced as Rowan Marshall and Zak Jones withdrew late due to injury. After leading at the first change and remaining competitive up to half time, the Saints only managed 11 inside 50s in the second half as Richmond romped away.
It looms as another week of soul-searching at Moorabbin after their second 15 goal loss of the season, further placing the spotlight on the club who now find themselves reeling out of the top eight, with a lowly percentage and a trip to face Port Adelaide on the horizon next week.
Coach Brett Ratten lamented his side’s inability to pick and choose when to play and their inability to handle Richmond’s pressure game, saying that his side was poor and at some points in time lost confidence will ball in hand.
“We cannot pick and choose when we want to jump in and play. For a quarter and a bit we were good and last week we were good for the whole game and that is something we have to address,” Ratten said.
“That was a trend and it was a poor game and we did not handle their pressure and their pressure was very good and we had the ability to kick the ball and take some ground off them and we took a handball and we spoke about taking some territory and we were 6-12 in the first three minutes of the last quarter. There were aspects of the game where we lost confidence and around the ball we were poor.”
“We didn’t handle their pressure.
“Their pressure was very, very good but we field returned. We had opportunities to kick the ball and take some ground off them and we just kept handballing.”
Richmond emerged from the game with a clean bill of health and have an extended break before an ANZAC Eve blockbuster against the undefeated Melbourne at the MCG next Saturday night.
St Kilda is confident that it will regain star ruckman Rowan Marshall for their clash with the Power next week, while Paddy Ryder is still at least a couple of weeks away Brett Ratten confirmed post-game.
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