MELBOURNE’S disastrous AFL season has reached crisis point after Richmond scored a 43-point win in their Anzac Day eve clash at the MCG.
The Demons, a shadow of the side that stormed into a preliminary final last year, slumped to a 1-5 record after the Tigers ground out a 12.13 (85) to 6.6 (42) win in front of 72,774 fans on Wednesday night.
It was an even, if occasionally flawed, performance by the Tigers, who moved to a 4-2 record after coming out on top in an error-filled contest.
With Dustin Martin struggling to shake the attention of minder Michael Hibberd, Kane Lambert (29 possessions), Bachar Houli (32), Dion Prestia (30) and Nick Vlastuin (28) were the prime movers.
In his first game back from a broken wrist suffered in round two, Jack Riewoldt booted two goals in the third quarter and was also involved in a tackle on Bayley Fritsch that will come under scrutiny.
The spearhead finished the match on the bench resting a sore knee, leaving Jason Castagna to boot two late goals to take his tally to three.
While Richmond deserve the plaudits, the story of the week will be the woeful Demons.
Misfiring forward Tom McDonald was redeployed to a defensive role, but the move failed to spark a Melbourne attack that managed just two goals after quarter- time.
Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw had 29 touches each and Max Gawn had 48 hitouts, but Melbourne’s ability to fluently move the ball has deserted them.
Coach Simon Goodwin demanded a lift in intensity from his underperforming line- up after a listless defeat to St Kilda and got it in a fiery opening term, with bullocking co-captain Jack Viney helping the Demons edge a six-point lead at the first break.
But while the intensity remained, Melbourne couldn’t maintain their composure in the face of the vaunted Richmond pressure.
The Tigers’ lead of eight points at halftime should have been greater and the Demons were still in with a shot to show something in the final term, down by 16 points.
But on such a big stage and with so much to play for, Goodwin’s men could barely offer a yelp as Richmond slammed through five goals to one.
© AAP 2019
RICHMOND 3.1 5.4 7.9 12.13 (85)
MELBOURNE 4.1 4.2 5.5 6.6 (42)
Goals: Richmond: J Castagna 3 B Ellis 2 J Riewoldt 2 L Baker 2 D Martin K McIntosh T Lynch. Melbourne: A Neal-Bullen B Fritsch J Hunt J Lockhart M Gawn T Smith.
Official Crowd: 72,774 at MCG.