Dreamtime At The 'G

Picture: Michael Dodge/adelaidenow.com.au
Brett Deledio and Dustin Martin have been stand outs for Richmond this season. Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Michael Dodge
Last Five Meetings

Round 22, 2012 – Richmond 102 d Essendon 57 (MCG)
Round 8, 2012 – Essendon 128 d Richmond 109 (MCG)
Round 16, 2011 – Essendon 105 d Richmond 66 (MCG)
Round 9, 2011 – Richmond 105 d Essendon 89 (MCG)
Round 9, 2010 – Essendon 130 d Richmond 95 (MCG)


Form

     Rd 4       Rd 5       Rd 6       Rd 7       Rd 8   
Richmond   L  L  L  W  W
Essendon   W  W  W  L  L

After threatening to ruin their three-game winning streak to start the season, Richmond has all of a sudden come good again, just in time for Saturday night’s ‘Dreamtime at the G’ clash with Essendon . The Tigers are still yet to beat any of the competition’s heavyweights, but for the moment they’re winning the matches they should, and backed up the win in Adelaide over Port with a relatively easy dismissal of the hapless Demons last weekend by 34 points .

The Tigers get some key men back in the form of gun ruckman Ivan Maric and former skipper Chris Newman. Former Bomber Sam Lonergan will play his first game in the black and gold against his old club.

After dropping two in a row, Essendon ran in to more trouble during the week when utility Nathan Lovett-Murray was stabbed in an incident away from the club midweek. The ‘Dons get an injection of speed with backman Courtenay Dempsey and Leroy Jetta back in the team. There are some worrying signs with the ‘Dons moving the ball inside 50 with a tendency to seemingly just bomb away without any real target, but they should keep their shape better this week with Michael Hurley named after he missed most of the Lions clash due to concussion.


Key Men

(Tigers) Brandon Ellis – The word potential is thrown around a lot, especially when it comes to the Tigers, but Brandon Ellis is showing this year why he played all bar one game in his debut season in 2012. It’s a nice thought for Richmond fans that Ellis and this year’s rookie gun Nick Vlastuin could be dictating games off half-back for many years to come. Ellis was superb last week against Melbourne picking up 39 touches and 11 marks, and that came on the back of a 23 and 13 effort against Port Adelaide. He started the season slowly but has really come on the past month.

(Bombers) Michael Hibberd – Hawthorn has been the place of residence for left footed defenders who use the ball well in recent years, but Michael Hibberd is showing Windy Hill can be a home for them, as well. The Tasmanian has overcome hamstring issues to this season become a mainstay in the Bombers’ back-half. He is averaging a Grant Birchall-like 23 touches per game and his ability to use the ball effectively was a big reason why the ‘Dons started the season with a six-game winning run. He’s good one-on-one and has the ability to peel off his man and take intercept marks, and he’ll be vital against a Tigers outfit that can throw multiple players forward.


Prediction

Despite their very ordinary record over the past decade, Richmond has had the better of this match in recent seasons, winning nine of the last 14 contests. The teams have split the last two Dreamtime showdowns, but Richmond players – Brett Deledio and Trent Cotchin – have taken home the Yiooken Award as best on ground. In their past two wins it has been the support cast, led by Dustin Martin, Brandon Ellis and Nick Vlastuin, who have really impressed. Essendon thumped Collingwood in their previous marquee match, the ANZAC Day clash, earlier this season, but the Bombers really appear to be in a bit of a flat spot after winning their first six. Maybe the drug scandal is finally catching up with them, or, perhaps, they just lost to a very skilful Cats side and a super-committed Lions outfit with everything to play for. Tigers by 10 points

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