AFL top-four berth within reach for Tigers

Aug 20, 2017 - 9:36 AM Richmond coach Damien Hardwick isn't getting carried away just yet despite his side being on the cusp of locking down a top-four spot.

The Tigers are a game clear in fourth spot after thrashing Fremantle by 104 points in Sunday's AFL clash at Domain Stadium.

The Tigers looked shaky early, with Fremantle dominating the inside-50m count 18-6 in the opening term as the home side opened up a four-point lead.

But Richmond blew the game wide open with an eight-goals-to-nil second term to set up the 25.5 (155) to 7.9 (51) romp in front of a crowd of 34,204.

Former GWS midfielder Jacob Townsend finished with a career-high six goals, while Jack Riewoldt (four goals), Kane Lambert (three), Dustin Martin (36 disposals, two goals) and Shaun Grigg (36 possessions) also had big games.

Richmond will guarantee themselves a double chance in the finals if they account for St Kilda at the MCG next Sunday.

But if they lose, they could drop to as low as sixth.

Richmond lost to St Kilda by 67 points six weeks ago, and Hardwick is expecting another tough tussle.

"St Kilda thoroughly embarrassed us the last time we played," Hardwick said.

"We have to make sure we come to play. I'm not sure they are still playing for a finals spot, the Saints, but they are certainly playing for a legend of the game and a legend of the footy club in Nick Riewoldt.

"So it's going to be a hell of a game."

Sunday's win was Richmond's biggest ever over Fremantle, eclipsing their 90-point victory over the Dockers at the MCG in 1998.

The result was also the equal biggest defeat in Ross Lyon's coaching career, following on from last round's 104-point loss to Sydney.

The capitulation was extra disappointing for Fremantle given it was their final match at Subiaco Oval ahead of next year's move to the new Perth Stadium.

"Our ability to defend over the past two weeks has been deplorable," Lyon said.

"I mean they had 50 entires and kicked 25.5, so the ball's not rebounding out."

The one bright spot to come out of the game for Fremantle was the successful AFL return of Harley Bennell, who booted two-first quarter goals.

Fremantle could be without Sean Darcy for their final-round clash with Essendon at Etihad Stadium after the ruckman was reported for striking Nick Vlastuin.

Darcy had just jumped in the air and was on his way down when he struck Vlastuin with a forearm as the pair collided.

Townsend's six-goal haul was all the more remarkable given it was his first AFL match of the year.

Before the match, Hardwick revealed he went up to Townsend and jokingly ordered the former Giant to kick six goals.

Source: AAP






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