It was a game decided by moments; Tom Lynch’s three second-quarter goals, Jack Riewoldt’s shot for goal inexplicably allowed to be marked on the goal line, the Tom Phillips post and kick out on the full, Jordan De Goey’s sprayed shots, Shai Bolton’s last desperate shot at goal that was rushed to level the scores.
Jack Higgins, the man who would be the feel good story of the week but for William being found shivering on Mount Disappointment, kicked a ripper in the third term from a goal review, which went his way on a mark on the behind line. But then he was left to feel a little disappointment of his own when his shot in the dying minutes, to put the Tigers in front, went wide.
Shorter games were not supposed to have time enough left for them to be patient games but Richmond played patiently.
The premiers looked frustrated early as Collingwood forced them out of their fast ball movement, territory game and into a kick-mark-kick game. The Magpies defensive zone rolled quickly onto Richmond’s players to slow the ball movement and the organised defence choked Richmond’s forward thrusts.
But Richmond was patient. They have that utter self-confidence of good teams that if they persist the game will turn. And it did. Just not far enough.
Collingwood’s early surge came through Brodie Grundy and Taylor Adams, the least heralded of the midfielders in this match but the best of the midfielders in the first term and Josh Daicos. Richmond didn’t tag Steele Sidebottom and, early on especially, he exploited the freedom.
Collingwood squeezed opportunities in territory early but as they ceded ground when the game moved on they could not find regulation goals and Richmond looked increasingly likely to score as the game wore on with more chaos ball movement as players tired.
Collingwood lacked targets and scoring options. De Goey offered only fly-bys forward, Jamie Elliott was ignored or missing, Brodie Mihocek marked well but did not convert well enough and Jaidyn Stephenson was at home.
With a cardboard cut-out crowd behind the goals it felt like the Tigers channelling their inner Mick Malthouse and playing a cardboard cut-out ruckman.
Toby Nankervis was left out of the team leaving Ivan Soldo to go, err, solo against Grundy and second gamer Darcy Cameron. He was given help from Riewoldt and Lynch.
Collingwood decisively won the centre clearances – 8-6 – and Grundy had the better of the night but he was not commanding.
Lynch and his mob
Lynch wrenched Richmond back into the game in the second quarter after the Magpies had decisively the better of the play in the opening term. The first goal was from a free, the second a regulation lead and mark when he wrong-footed the Magpies backs.
But the killer was the third goal just before half-time after De Goey had taken a set shot at the other end from too far out and left it on the goal line to be easily rushed. Richmond took the quick, kick in and in the first Richmond, looking bit of play for the night the ball, was spirited up the ground to bobble into Lynch’s hands for a third goal. The only thing missing was a roar.
Best on ground
Collingwood: Scott Pendlebury, Jeremy Howe, Taylor Adams, Steele Sidebottom, Patrick Grundy, Crisp, Chris Mayne, Josh Daicos
Richmond: Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin, Tom Lynch, Bachar Houli, Nick Vlastuin, David Astbury, Dylan Grimes
Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.