Richmond lament horror AFL loss to Kangas

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has slammed his side's "diabolical" performance after their AFL finals hopes took a hit in a stunning four-point upset loss to North Melbourne.

Cam Zurhaar kicked six goals - including the match-winner - as the Kangaroos triumphed 14.8 (92) to 11.22 (88) at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

The result snapped last-placed North's 14-match losing streak, four days after David Noble was sacked as coach.

The Tigers won the inside-50 count in a landslide (67-46) but failed to make their territorial dominance count on the scoreboard.

They trailed by 32 points at halftime and still had chances to win, hitting the front when Jack Graham converted a free kick midway through the final term.

But Zurhaar waltzed through a stoppage, gleefully accepting Todd Goldstein's expert tap from a boundary throw-in, to kick the Kangaroos' final go-ahead goal with less than three minutes left on the clock.

A string of missed set shots and Jake Aarts' decision to play on after marking 30 metres from goal inside the final minute of play all proved costly for the Tigers, who are now clinging to eighth spot on percentage alone.

"Our general intent in the first half was poor and our pressure rating of 1.6 was abysmal," triple-premiership coach Hardwick said.

"Our system itself held up ... we just didn't execute.

"It's not as if they were hard shots on goal - we kicked 1.9 from inside 30 metres.

"We're paid to kick goals, we didn't, and that's the reality of it.

"It was a good win by North - their hardness and their ability to play quick was good - but all in all, if you look at that template, we should win."

Veteran spearhead Jack Riewoldt was the worst offender in front of goal with 2.6 to his name, while third-gamer Noah Cumberland kicked 3.4.

Hardwick said Aarts would have gone back to take his set shot in the dying seconds if he had his time again, but the coach refused to blame that moment of madness for the defeat.

"There's numerous reasons and the last defensive-50 goal (to Zurhaar) was poor," Hardwick said.

"We can't let a guy come from the other side of the pack and just stroll through.

"It was ridiculous and probably sums us up really - it's Richmond killing Richmond at the moment."

Zurhaar had five goals from five kicks in the first half as the epitome of North Melbourne's efficiency in attack.

Jy Simpkin (34 disposals), Luke Davies-Uniacke (28) and Jed Anderson (22) were outstanding, as was Jaidyn Stephenson, who responded to heavy criticism for last week's performance with 23 touches and a goal.

Ben McKay starred in defence and Paul Curtis (14 disposals, three goals) was also important.

The shock result came in Leigh Adams' first match as caretaker coach and was eerily similar to the Kangaroos' maiden outing under Rhyce Shaw in 2019, when they upset flag-bound Richmond immediately following Brad Scott's exit.

"We knew they were going to come back at us really hard and, to the boys' credit, when we lost that lead, the character they showed to dig in was sensational," Adams said.

"We got some real reward in the end."

Both sides lost players to injury, with North forward Nick Larkey (heel) and Tigers youngster Josh Gibcus (shoulder) substituted out in the second half, while Richmond ruckman Toby Nankervis was reported for kneeing Flynn Perez.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting