Tigers shake off brave Eagles in tough slog

RICHMOND celebrated a breakthrough win at its traditional Punt Road Oval home by outlasting West Coast in a stirring battle.

The Tigers had to withstand an Eagles second-half challenge for the 5.12 (42) to 5.4 (34) victory, played in constant rain.

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It was set up by Richmond's first-half dominance and the lead stretched to 23 points after Christina Bernardi goaled early in the third quarter.

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But West Coast booted the next three goals to cut the margin to just six points before Tiger forward Katie Brennan took a strong mark and kicked the goal that saved the day.

The Tigers midfield unit of Ellie McKenzie, Monique Conti and Sarah Hosking were instrumental in setting up the seemingly insurmountable lead before the Eagles' onballers took over in the second half as Irish sisters Grace and Niamh Kelly consistently sent them inside the forward 50.

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It was a brave effort by West Coast, the Eagles finishing the bruising game with a bench full of injured players.

Coming off a six-day break, the Eagles lost captain Emma Swanson to suspension for rough conduct. Fellow onballer Aisling McCarthy was out of the game in the opening minutes with a knee injury.

Richmond placed an emphasis on applying pressure inside their forward half and that commitment provided a crucial early lead, particularly given the greasy conditions.

Tayla Stahl used her strength deep in the Tigers' forward line to boot the first two goals of the game.

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Richmond's Tayla Stahl snares the opening two goals of the game after some lovely ball movement

Such was Richmond's early dominance that it took until the last minute of the first quarter for West Coast to venture inside the forward 50 for the first time.

But the girls from the West launched a spirited second-half fight back when they were able to get the ball out into space and nearly stole the points.

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RICHMOND      2.2   3.6   4.9   5.12 (42)
WEST COAST    0.1   0.2   3.3   5.4 (34)

Richmond: Stahl 2, Brennan 2, Bernardi
West Coast: Bowen 2, G.Kelly, Cameron, Pope

Richmond: Conti, McKenze, Stahl, Brennan, D'Arcy
West Coast: Bowen, Collier, N.Kelly, Lewis, Gibson

Richmond: Nil
West Coast: McCarthy (knee), Collier (cheek)

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