Tigers beat brave Roos to stay top in AFL

Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin starred in their 10-point AFL victory over North Melbourne.’Richmondy’ used to be an uncharitable piece of slang but things have changed.
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The Tigers’ 10-point win over North Melbourne was rather Richmondy – and coach Damien Hardwick loved it.

A term once applied to the Tigers’ ability to find new ways to inflict heartache on their fans can now be aptly used to describe an AFL win stemming from an even team performance with contributors across every line.

That’s not to say Trent Cotchin wasn’t huge in the thrilling 12.10 (82) to 11.6 (72) win at Etihad Stadium.

But he had plenty of support from most of his 21 teammates.

“That’s what we’re really happy with,” Hardwick said.

“Cotchin was outstanding and Lambert and Caddy, but we don’t need to rely on one player standing up.

“They just move aside and let the next player come in and fulfil his role better.

“We’ve spoken about that for a number of weeks … we’re becoming less and less reliant on certain players to play at their very best every week.

“That’s a sign of a good side. It’s the sign of a maturing side and that’s what really pleases us.”

Cotchin had 37 possessions and kicked a pivotal goal, while Josh Caddy kicked four goals and Kane Lambert three.

The brave Kangaroos led by two points early in the final term.

But the reigning premiers found a way to grind out their seventh win of the season – their sixth in a row – to remain atop the ladder after eight rounds.

And they did it without a great deal of help from Dustin Martin.

The Brownlow Medal winner had master tagger Ben Jacobs for company for much of the contest and the Roos midfielder restricted Martin to 16 possessions.

But Martin still found a way to influence the game late.

He was redeployed up forward in the last quarter and had a hand in Cotchin’s goal then found Dan Butler, who kicked the last goal of the contest in front of 29,153 fans on Mother’s Day.

Ben Cunnington played arguably the best game of his AFL career with a record 32 of his 38 possessions contested.

For a team widely expected not do much this season, the Roos will take plenty away from the performance that left them 10th on the ladder with a 4-4 record.

“It’s mixed emotions … we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the result,” coach Brad Scott said.

“But I don’t think we lost any self-belief.

“The majority of footy is giving yourself an opportunity to win and I thought we did that. We had shots late that we missed that we’d probably normally kick.”

Coleman Medal leader Ben Brown, who booted two goals, missed two set shots as time ran out, ending his side’s brave challenge.

North defender Luke McDonald was reported for a high bump on Lambert in the first quarter.

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