Indigenous Richmond star Shane Edwards lit up the AFL’s Dreamtime At The ‘G clash as the Tigers walloped Essendon by 71 points.
Edwards continued his strong form with a best-afield performance, racking up 30 possessions and two goals, and led the Tigers in their 17.12 (114) to 6.7 (43) win in Saturday night’s annual marquee clash at the MCG.
The horror night stopped the Bombers’ two-win rally dead in its tracks and they also lost David Zaharakis with a suspected broken collarbone.
It is also Richmond’s biggest win over Essendon since 1983 and they now have won 15 in a row at the MCG.
Already in control at halftime, Richmond mauled Essendon with six goals to one to increase their lead by 33 points in the third quarter..
The Bombers have won the third term only once this season and have lost the quarter overall by a whopping 180 points.
Josh Caddy continued his stellar season with four goals to take his tally to 27, making him Richmond’s leading goalkicker ahead of Jack Riewoldt.
Jake Stringer was a rare shining light for Essendon in his 100th game, with a game-high 16 contested possessions.
It is Essendon’s lowest score since round three last season, when Carlton held them to 6.6 in wet conditions.
Essendon’s livewire indigenous forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti nearly gave the Bombers an ideal start, but his shot on the run went wide for the first score of the match.
The Tigers went on a five-goal run and threatened to bury Essendon, before McDonald-Tipungwuti kicked their first just before quarter time.
There was nothing surprising about the reigning premiers and Essendon, who were coming off big wins over Geelong and GWS, simply could not withstand their pressure.
The highlight of the opening term for the Tigers was a superb tackle from Dan Butler on Bombers defender Michael Hurley, setting up Caddy for a simple goal.
Adding to their problems, Essendon lost Zaharakis for the match after a crunching tackle.
The Bombers noticeably lifted their own pressure early in the second term, with Stringer prominent, and kicked four out of five goals to be only 13 points down.
But after Stringer blotted his copybook by missing a simple shot at goal, Richmond went coast-to-coast for a goal that stopped Essendon’s momentum.
Just before halftime, a dubious free was paid to Dustin Martin in front of goal which enraged Bombers fans.
He kicked accurately and Caddy quickly followed up with his third, giving the Tigers a comfortable 31-point lead at the main break.
Essendon’s indigenous great Michael Long was a rare absentee from the Dreamtime clash as he recovers from illness, meaning he did not lead the pre-game walk to the MCG that is named in his honour.
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