ESSENDON has taken another hit in its AFL season from hell, suffering a 32-point defeat to Richmond.
Dion Prestia (36 disposals) starred and Jack Riewoldt kicked four goals for the Tigers in their 11.14 (80) to 7.6 (48) win at the MCG on Saturday night.
Indigenous talents Shai Bolton and Maurice Rioli Jnr gave fitting contributions in the Dreamtime feature match, kicking two goals each.
Liam Baker (30 disposals) and Daniel Rioli (26) continued their outstanding seasons and Robbie Tarrant stood tall in defence.
Prestia received the Yiooken Award as best afield.
But Kane Lambert was substituted out with hip soreness and Tom Lynch (hamstring) sat out the final quarter of a fourth consecutive win that firmed up Richmond’s (6-4) spot in the top-eight.
Put under a fierce blowtorch this week, Essendon needed to show more fight than in their meek round-nine surrender to Sydney.
Ben Rutten’s men repeatedly flew the flag in a fiery contest against the Tigers but never looked like being able to produce an upset win that could have sparked a turnaround in their campaign.
The loss left them floundering near the foot of the ladder with a 2-8 record.
And making matters worse, Mason Redman was reported for striking Prestia off the ball.
Darcy Parish racked up 43 touches, including 19 contested possessions, in a losing cause but wasn’t clean in his disposal by foot.
Zach Merrett (33 disposals) and Redman (29) found plenty of the ball and youngster Ben Hobbs kicked two goals.
Essendon great Matthew Lloyd led the chorus of criticism against his old club in recent days and would have been at least been pleased to see the Bombers show some aggression from the outset.
Sam Draper led the response that followed Tom Lynch crashing into Matt Guelfi’s back and Redman laid a ferocious tackle to pin Bolton holding the ball.
It was one of 20 tackles laid by Essendon in the first quarter after they tallied just 30 for the entire game a week earlier.
But for all the Bombers’ endeavour, they coughed the ball up too easily and were outclassed by a far more efficient Richmond side that featured 18 premiership players.
A run of five-straight Tigers goals either side of the first break gave them a lead they never relinquished.
Richmond sewed up a comfortable, if not pretty, victory midway through the final term when Bolton kicked his second major and cheekily waved ‘goodbye’ to the Essendon cheer squad.
(C) AAP 2022