Tigers' late blitz sinks brave Bombers

·3-min read

Richmond have overcome a frenetic Essendon fightback and a record-breaking Darcy Parish masterclass to post a 39-point AFL win in a Dreamtime epic at Perth's Optus Stadium.

The Tigers looked set for an easy victory in Saturday night's blockbuster after opening up a 30-point lead late in the third quarter.

But the Bombers hit back hard, booting the first four goals inside 11 minutes of the final term to snatch the lead in front of 55,656 fans.

Momentum was all Essendon's way at that point, but Richmond's cream stood up when they needed it most as the defending premiers unleashed a devastating seven-goal blitz to secure the 19.9 (123) to 12.12 (84) win.

Shai Bolton and Dustin Martin were crucial in the late flurry.

Bolton kicked two last-quarter goals - including a twisting and turning effort - either side of Martin's 50m bomb to help kill off the Bombers.

The result extended Richmond's winning streak over Essendon to 11 matches, with seven of those Dreamtime clashes.

Parish won the Yiooken Medal as best afield for his 44-disposal, 11-clearance effort - the most possessions ever tallied by an Essendon player in VFL/AFL history.

Bombers forward Brayden Ham booted a career-best three goals, with Cale Hooker also chipping in with three goals.

Martin was Richmond's best with three goals from 27 disposals, while Bolton and Castagna also finished with three goals to their name.

Both teams suffered injuries to key players.

Bombers midfielder Andrew McGrath succumbed to a game-ending knee injury less than nine minutes into the opening term.

Essendon veteran David Zaharakis suffered a hamstring injury, while Richmond's Dion Prestia was subbed off with hamstring tightness.

Star Bombers forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti could be in strife for a high bump on Dylan Grimes in the second quarter that left the Richmond defender dazed.

"Shai was pretty special in that last 10 minutes when we kicked those seven goals," Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said.

"We sort of knew Essendon would push hard forward in that last quarter, and I sort of forgot to mention that to the players, and it probably caught us off guard a little bit with regard to our preparation (and) defensive set-up for that.

"I was a little bit disappointed in myself, but the players got it together by the end and we managed to get the result."

About 10,000 people took part in the pre-match Long Walk, and the atmosphere was electric when the game got underway in front of a sellout crowd.

Richmond ruckman Mabior Chol produced a dominant opening quarter to inspire the Tigers to a 19-point lead at the break.

Essendon appeared set to make their move in the third quarter, but were let down by poor goalkicking time and again.

The last-quarter fightback, which included an off-the-ball free kick against Martin, sent Bombers fans delirious.

But their joy was short-lived, with Richmond producing a devastating 16-minute burst late in the match to run away with victory.

"I don't think the scoreboard in the end completely reflected the game," Essendon coach Ben Rutten said.

"Richmond were the better team, and we got a good look at their efficiency and their effectiveness from turnovers in particular.

"Any time we made a mistake, or they forced a mistake, they were able to punish us on the scoreboard.

"I thought we created a lot of opportunities, we're just not good enough at the moment to finish them off."