Riewoldt, Houli hurt as Tigers down Saints

Michael Ramsey
Riewoldt, Houli hurt as Tigers down Saints

A decimated Richmond have their AFL premiership defence back on track after storming home to defeat a much-improved St Kilda by 28 points at the MCG.

Led by small forward Jade Gresham (six goals), the struggling Saints delivered their best performance in weeks but were outclassed when the game was on the line as Richmond surged to a valiant 15.15 (105) to 12.5 (77) victory.

Josh Caddy was superb for the Tigers with six goals on Saturday, Alex Rance (eight marks) delivered a backline masterclass and skipper Trent Cotchin (32 disposals, nine clearances) was huge at the coalface.

Richmond have now won a remarkable 14 straight games at the MCG.

The Tigers went down two rotations during the second quarter, with spearhead Jack Riewoldt and defender Bachar Houli struck down.

Riewoldt failed a concussion test after copping a Jake Carlisle forearm to the head in a clumsy spoiling attempt during the first term.

Carlisle was reported for striking and faces a likely suspension when match review officer Michael Christian delivers his findings.

Houli limped down to the Richmond rooms soon after with a groin injury.

Meanwhile, the Tigers were looking fatigued a week after losing to West Coast by 47 points in Perth.

"Two players down, a six-day break, coming back from Perth ... (it was) a perfect storm," coach Damien Hardwick said.

"We probably hit a patch there where we were looking pretty tired, especially early in the third, but they ground it out."

St Kilda trailed by 13 points at halftime but would likely have led if not for the wayward goalkicking that has haunted them all season.

Prime culprit Tim Membrey missed everything with his first shot at goal, while Tom Hickey and Paddy McCartin also sprayed easy opportunities.

The Saints switched gears in the third term, with Jack Billings, Jack Lonie and Gresham combining for four straight goals to put their side ahead.

Hardwick responded by sending Nick Vlastuin forward and the defender proved an unlikely hero, slotting three majors as the Tigers wrestled back the lead.

Dustin Martin had been quiet early under a Seb Ross tag but also worked his way into the game, fending off Luke Dunstan and drilling a superb goal from 55m out as the Tigers surged home.

The result leaves the Saints anchored in 16th place with one win, one draw and eight losses.

"There were periods in the game where we just weren't able to match Richmond," coach Alan Richardson said.

"Right at the back end of the third quarter, when they had a really physical surge mentality with their footy ... we lost our way for about five minutes."

Dunstan (shoulder), Brandon White (corked thigh) and Jack Newnes (head knock) spent time on the bench, with White in doubt for the Saints' clash with West Coast next week.