‘Dusty-like’ Bolton brilliant as Richmond send ‘ominous’ finals warning: 3-2-1
Richmond has leapt into the top eight with a record 38-point victory over Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
The 16.13 (109) to 10.11 (71) win is the Tigers’ biggest result over the Power at Adelaide Oval.
But the victory has come at a cost with defender Nick Vlastuin appearing to suffer a serious rib injury.
Vlastuin bravely stood in front of a charging Charlie Dixon and copped a brutal knee to the ribs.
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And Kamdyn McIntosh could be sweating on his attempted spoil which appeared to strike Port’s Darcy Byrne-Jones in the face.
Shai Bolton was the hero for Richmond with an equal career-high four goals, but it could have been much more if not for his inaccuracy that also netted five behinds.
Port’s loss ensures it is officially season over for the Power in 2022 in a disappointing campaign after their top two finish last year.
QUARTER BY QUARTER MATCH REPORT
Port Adelaide made the big call to drop Mitch Georgiades for the clash with Richmond but without the young big man, Charlie Dixon found plenty of space early.
With Tom Lynch wayward in front of goal down the other end, Dixon was a “dangerous” dominant force for the Power.
A chase down on Lynch gave the Power a chance to open up an early lead.
“It’s a two-goal turnaround,” commentator Jordan Lewis said.
“They were able to transition off that tackle,” Mark Ricciuto added.
“(Sam) Powell-Pepper with the really nice kick.
“He’s going to have to have a big night, Charlie. With no Georgiades, when those ruckmen go off, they will only have one tall man in their forward line.”
Dixon added his second goal minutes later to give the Power a five-point buffer.
“They’ve got Richmond’s back six in all sorts,” commentator David King said.
“They look lost against Dixon.”
Lynch finally found his radar when awarded a free kick off the ball 15m out, directly in front.
Despite having limited opportunities inside forward 50, the Power stayed in touch with the Tigers at the first change.
There was some good news for Port with Ollie Wiens able to return to the field after a big tackle from Trent Cotchin early in the first term.
Port assistant Chad Cornes went straight to McKenzie at the break, appearing to encourage the defender to body up on Lynch.
In the second term, the Power just couldn’t find an outlet from defence as Richmond locked the ball in their front half.
But the Tigers couldn’t put their pressure on the scoreboard and when Dion Prestia was caught by Jeremy Finlayson from a throw in 25m out, all the dominance counted for little as Port closed to four points.
“They just cannot find a mark in the true midfield Port Adelaide. Maybe they just need to look at Charlie (Dixon) coming up to the wing to give them an outlet,” King said.
Maurice Rioli Jnr had the chance to open up Richmond’s lead when he laid a brilliant chase down tackle on Xavier Duursma.
But his shot crashed into the post.
“It’s the only reason Port are in the game, the inaccuracy,” Lewis said.
A moment of Robbie Gray brilliance then gave the Power the lead.
Gray pleaded for the free kick after Nathan Broad deliberately punched the ball through for a behind. And he was rewarded with a goal from the square.
“How smart is that from Robbie Gray?” Lewis praised.
“He could see it, but to be in the moment and understand the rules.”
But again the Tigers found avenues to goal. Dan Rioli kicked his second for the night before Noah Cumberland made the most of Port’s inability to kill the ball at the back of the pack, and soccered his first from the square.
“The really good sides punch that 10 rows back,” Lewis lamented.
“They get that technique right.”
The Power suffered a big blow when Connor Rozee limped from the field. The youngster’s knee turned awkwardly when he attempted to change direction and after tests on the sidelines, the decision was made to go up the rooms.
Jase Burgoyne finally got Port Adelaide a goal for all their efforts. But once again it was Shai Bolton in the dying seconds of the term to break all the Power’s momentum.
“You just can’t give this guy that space,” King said.
“He’s too damaging.”
Bolton’s goal ensured the Tigers took an eight-point lead into the main change.
Richmond lost defender Nick Vlastuin just seconds into the third term when he bravely put his body on the line, standing in front of big leading Charlie Dixon.
“You want to stand there my friend, count your ribs,” David King said.
“You can feel that from here.”
Dixon’s knee crashed into Vlastuin’s ribcage and the Tiger slowly made his way from the ground and straight down the race.
Vlastuin was subbed out of the match minutes later as Dan Rioli extended Richmond’s lead.
When Nathan Broad was penalised again, this time for insufficient intent, Connor Rozee had Port’s reply.
Maurice Rioli pushed the lead back out as commentator Anthony Hudson claimed “the Riolis are killing them”.
When a “fearless” Jack Riewoldt took a big contested grab and goaled, the Tigers were out to their biggest lead of the match - 21 points.
“He was going back into the unknown, It’s a really vulnerable position. You’ve just got to trust your teammates are protecting you,” Lewis said.
When Lynch added his fourth for the night, the Tigers were running hot.
“The (Port) defenders are under siege down the back,” King said.
“They are getting smacked in the clearances this quarter,” commentator Anthony Hudson added.
Errors from Karl Amon and Brynn Teakle cruelled any chance the Power had to hit the scoreboard. Rozee couldn’t make the most of his chance as Richmond enjoyed a five-goal lead.
“They just can’t get past half way,” Lewis lamented.
“The pressure has been really high.”
Late goals to Bolton and Noah Cumberland in the third ensured Richmond’s lead stretched out to 34 points by the final change.
The final quarter belonged to Richmond as the Power simply couldn’t get any run flowing forward.
If not for some late inaccuracy by Shai Bolton, the margin would have really blown out as the Tigers “owned” the late stages of the match.
“It’s been an avalanche,” commentator Anthony Hudson said.
“And it’s an ominous sign for the competition.”
Marlion Pickett silenced the crowd late with a brilliant goal from the boundary to sum up a brilliant night for the Tigers.
The win ensures Richmond leap into eighth place and remain in the finals hunt.
For Port Adelaide, it is officially season over in 2022.
3. TIGERS’ FIRMLY IN THE HUNT
Richmond have leapt into finals contention with the big win over Port Adelaide on Saturday night.
The Tigers started the round in ninth, but a series of results going their way ensured they jumped into eighth.
Gold Coast’s loss to Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs’ loss to Fremantle and St Kilda’s loss to Geelong all meant the Tigers gained a precious four points their rivals couldn’t find.
Knowing a win at Adelaide Oval would keep them in the finals hunt, the Tigers simply “wanted it more”, according to Jordan Lewis.
“They’ve been ruthless,” he praised.
“It’s been a dominant statement by the Tigers,” David King added.
Commentator Anthony Hudson warned Richmond were a “gathering storm” in the run to the finals.
“It’s been an avalanche (against Port),” he said.
For the Power, the loss completely snuffed out their 2022 post-season aspirations.
“Eight close losses, they’ve been pretty good,” commentator Mark Ricciuto said.
“They can easily get it right in the off-season. Get a fit ruckman, get everyone right… I can see them mixing with the best (in 2023).”
2. BRILLIANT BOLTON RICHMOND’S ‘NEW DUSTY’
Shai Bolton was simply unstoppable against the Power.
And if not for early and late inaccuracy, he could have finished with more than his equal career-high four goals at Adelaide Oval.
Bolton’s first came seconds before quarter time, with his second coming just seconds before the half time break.
He added a third late in the third term from a “clever” free kick before slotting his fourth on the run after marking in front of Dan Houston.
“He just oozes confidence Shai Bolton,” commentator Mark Ricciuto said.
“He’s almost a bit cocky.
“He was pinging them from everywhere pre-game, he knew he was in for a good night.
“He has got the ability to kick a big bag if he stayed forward. He could easily kick eight.”
Fox Footy’s David King said stopping Bolton’s influence was the “greatest conundrum” for opposition coaches.
“As soon as the ball leaves stoppage, he’s surging forward,” King praised.
“The tactical brilliance of Damien Hardwick – they created this role for Dustin Martin and it’s going next level with Shai Bolton.”
Commentator Jordan Lewis was shocked by the freedom the Power allowed him on Saturday night.
“(Ryan) Burton’s just not getting the match up done giving 6m to a guy that only needs a metre and a half,” Lewis lamented.
“It still amazes me no one puts body pressure on him. He’s allowed to run and jump at the ball.”
If not for his wayward goal radar, Bolton could have iced the match by three quarter time.
Bolton’s third goal came from a free kick he drew in the goal square.
“That’s clever – it was really clever. He realised Burton wasn’t he facing the ball. He was worried too much about Bolton. (And it) allows Burton to create the contact,” Lewis said.
“That’s the difficult part against Bolton. You are caught a little bit behind and you’ve got to try and face the ball, read the flight of the ball.”
Bolton finished with 4.5 from his 17 disposals.
1. DID HINKLEY MAKE THE RIGHT CALL?
Tom Lynch looked on from the opening minutes of the clash at Adelaide Oval.
He had early marks and disposals on Trent McKenzie but that match up was allowed to remain.
“He’s looking like the power forward we know he can be,” Fox Footy’s David King praised early.
Lynch had his first goal from a free kick in the goal square after McKenzie “panicked”.
“With no delay on the ball, you will panic,” commentator Jordan Lewis said.
“You can just see the panic comes because McKenzie knows he’s in all sorts against Lynch with his movement,” King added.
Commentator Mark Ricciuto called for the defensive change to be made in that first quarter.
“I think if you are going to make the change, it’s McKenzie to (Jack) Riewoldt. (Aliir) Aliir’s the man (for Lynch),” he said.
At quarter time, Power assistant coach Chad Cornes made a beeline for McKenzie and was seen giving him advice on the physicality needed.
But coach Ken Hinkley stuck with the match up in the second and third terms.
And it cost them, according to Ricciuto.
“They stood with him and paid the price to be honest,” he said.
King said McKenzie would only learn from the experience.
“I understand you’ve got to go with McKenzie for your first pick because you want Aliir Aliir to be rolling off as your centre half back,” he said.
“But Aliir has done a great job since going back onto Lynch (in the final term).”
Commentator Anthony Hudson agreed it felt like “a better match up”.
By full time, Lynch had 4.1 from his 16 touches, six marks and two tackles.