Tigers claw into top eight with Suns win

RICHMOND is four points and percentage inside the top eight, winning a crucial game against Gold Coast at Punt Road to move clear ahead of the ninth placed Suns. A loss would have seen the Tigers tumble back to ninth themselves, but in winning their fourth consecutive match, Richmond moved to a 4-2 record and sit just four points off top spot despite being eighth.

Richmond coach Ryan Ferguson said he was pleased his side could answer the challenge against Gold Coast, having toppled ladder leaders and previously undefeated Brisbane in Round 5.

“It was a special effort last week to play the best and be able to get over the line, and sometimes there can be a bit of a lull after that and to get the energy going,” he said. “We were a little banged up after the game. Lost a couple, got our skipper back which was obviously great. But to consolidate that was really important for us.”

In an epic struggle between two sides with a top eight spot on the line and a 3-2 record each, Gold Coast was up at the last break by three points – having also lead at half-time – before the Tigers found a way to win with a last term goal to Emelia Yassir to get over the line, 3.5 (23) to 3.1 (19).

“I thought we started to swarm them in the last quarter and we started to outwork them and outrun them,” Ferguson said. “To be fair in the first three quarters it was probably the other way around. We did ask them for a lift, because we just thought at times we lacked a bit of energy. But also, Gold Coast are a very, very good team at making it tough for the opposition. You always look internally at what you can do, but also the opposition was pretty good.”

Yassir was returned to the side after being dropped for the Round 5 clash against Brisbane, but responded in the best way possible, with Ferguson praising her efforts and energy.

“It was a bit of a shock to the system for her I think,” Ferguson said. “Her character’s shown through, she went to work and came back with a vengeance tonight. She did everything and more that we could have asked of her. Tackles and pressure, lively, polish, just she was one that was really when we might have lacked a bit of energy, she was the one that gave us the spark. Credit to her to how she’s responded to that challenge.”

The win meant the Tigers have won their past three games by a combined 10 points against Essendon, Brisbane and now Gold Coast. When asked how it felt to get up in the close game, Ferguson said it was much more enjoyable post-game than in the moment.

“It’s fun when the game’s over, but not so fun when the last few seconds are counting down,” he said. “Every week we take more belief with how we can play situations. Whether that’s in front and we gotta hold on, whether that’s behind and we need to generate some attack. I think we are getting better and better at playing that situational and smart football and the players, we learnt as coaches to step back a bit from that and let the players control things, and I think they’re getting better and better at doing that.”

Richmond has a six-day turnaround before taking on West Coast over in Perth at Mineral Resources Park on Friday, October 7. He said his team would recover pretty quickly and turn attention to the must-win game against the Eagles, who were coming off a couple of tight losses.

“They’ll be a bit battered and bruised today,” Ferguson said. “What we do know is we do know how to look after ourselves during the week, we know how to recover, we know how to respond and we’re learning pretty quickly how to win. They’re all important factors of the season and how we’ve gotten to this point. But we know we’re going to have to get up and about pretty quick.”

Richmond are strong chances to make finals, with West Coast, Carlton and GWS GIANTS to all come in the next three rounds, potentially putting a top four spot on the line when the Tigers take on North Melbourne in Round 10.

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