FREMANTLE goalsneak Lachie Schultz has snared a mark-of-the-year contender to help inspire his team to a pulsating four-point AFL win over Richmond at Optus Stadium.
Richmond trailed by 18 points in the third quarter of Sunday’s match but booted five of the next six goals to take a nine-point lead with 13 minutes remaining.
Schultz turned the momentum when he flew high in a big pack to snare a thrilling mark.
His goal was followed by a successful snap from Caleb Serong with eight minutes to go in what proved to be the final blows of the match.
The 7.13 (55) to 6.15 (51) loss saw Richmond (8-11) drop to 11th spot with just three games to play, leaving their finals hopes hanging by a thread.
It means the Tigers might need to win their final three games to have a chance of keeping their premiership defence alive.
Fremantle (9-10) moved into eighth spot, and they will stay there if Port Adelaide beat GWS in the final match of the round.
Fremantle midfielder Andrew Brayshaw tallied 39 disposals and eight clearances in a star display, while Adam Cerra and David Mundy also played key roles in the midfield.
Forward Matt Taberner booted three goals, while ruckman Sean Darcy was huge with 17 disposals, four contested marks, and 18 hitouts.
Richmond midfielder Dion Prestia racked up 31 possessions in his first game back from a hamstring injury, while skipper Trent Cotchin tallied 15 disposals in the third quarter alone before finishing with 32 for the match.
The two teams combined for a total of 3.18 in the first half as a series of golden chances went begging.
The swirling breeze played a part in the inaccuracy, but skill errors were largely to blame.
Richmond’s only goal of the first half came in the flukiest of fashion, with Rhyan Mansell’s attempted pass from 65m out swirling in the breeze before bouncing through.
Fremantle were dealt a blow early in the second quarter when forward Bailey Banfield knocked himself out while laying a tackle.
Richmond had 1.10 to their name before Tom Lynch ended the rut midway through the third quarter, and the margin was just four points when Matthew Parker, who had missed a 20m sitter earlier in the match, finally found his range.
Taberner’s goal after the three-quarter time siren extended the margin back to 10 points, but the Tigers were on track for victory after booting three quick goals to start the last.
That was before Schultz flew high to take a memorable grab, with the moment lifting his side and playing a key role in halting Richmond’s charge.
(C) AAP 2021
FREMANTLE 2.6 2.10 5.12 7.13 (55)
RICHMOND 1.1 1.8 3.14 6.15 (51)
Goals: Fremantle: M Taberner 3 L Schultz 2 C Serong T Colyer. Richmond: M Parker 2 J Riewoldt K Lambert R Mansell T Lynch.
Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Dean Margetts, Nick Brown.
Official Crowd: 24,979 at Optus Stadium.