Essendon’s only scores for the quarter came from Irving Mosquito who, on debut, kicked a goal with his second kick, a set shot from 40-metres out, which seemed fitting, with the Indigenous youngster from Halls Creek, who moved to Gippsland as a teenager, popular among the crowd.
The spark he had created continued into the second quarter when Dylan Clarke kicked his first goal after 15 games before Mosquito kicked one of the most electrifying goals of the season.
He swooped on a ground ball and burst into open space inside 50, exploding like he was on the Tabasco Superbowl commercial from 1998.
After one bounce he steadied and slotted the goal on the run with his left foot to record his second for the half.
Moments later, Essendon looked to have the momentum when Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti marked at the top of the goal square before strolling into the open goal to put the Bombers 11 points up.
But the umpire decided to deny McDonald-Tipungwuti the goal, instead awarding a free kick to Tigers defender Dylan Grimes for a push in the back after the premiership defender accentuated the contact from Jake Stringer.
It was a dubious call, which allowed Richmond to settle and end a run of eight consecutive behinds with an excellent goal to Shai Bolton.
Daniel Rioli, the hometown hero, then kicked a goal to stretch the Tigers’ lead to seven points and they were never headed again.
The confidence they created in the moments before half-time led to a spurt in scoring, with the Tigers banging on four of the next five goals due partly to the ferocious brilliance of Dustin Martin to open up what appeared a match-winning lead.
However, the Bombers were not having trouble scoring and hit back with the next three goals to draw within two kicks with 10 minutes to play.
But the Tigers, who won the inside 50 count 66 to 24 and deserved to win, could not be stopped after Nick Vlastuin goaled. They put the game to bed to run out winners by two goals, with local Rioli rapt.
“I am going to treasure this for the rest of my life,” Rioli said.
His teammate Shai Bolton, who designed the Tigers’ guernsey for the night, won the Yiooken Trophy as best man on the ground.
Irving Mosquito’s created a buzz
Pardon the pun but it’s actually true. The 19-year-old thrilled supporters with two excellent goals – one a certain nomination for goal of the round – and a strong tackle on Noah Balta in the third quarter.
Players have been trying to con umpires forever but in a low scoring game the impact of a mistake can be huge.
No one can know for certain the impact a player feels but Vlastuin threw his head back after he copped a slap from Tom Bellchambers when the game was tight. He won a 50-metre penalty for contact that looked minimal and kicked a goal.
A push in the back was awarded to Grimes after McDonald-Tipungwuti had goaled in the second quarter when the contact looked slight. It didn’t change the result but it was frustrating to watch.
Essendon 1.1 3.1 6.1 10.1 (61)
Richmond 1.5 3.8 7.10 10.13 (73)
Essendon: Merrett, Smith, Ridley, Parish, McGrath
Richmond: Martin, Bolton, Baker, Lambert, Pickett
Essendon: Mosquito 2, Stewart 2, McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Clarke, Snelling, Stringer, Merrett
Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Lynch 2, Bolton, Rioli, Martin, Lambert, Vlastuin, Chol
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.