Tigers respond to burn Pies after lacklustre first half

RICHMOND 2.4 3.5 9.8 14.15 (99) COLLINGWOOD 2.4 4.9 7.13 11.14 (80) GOALS – Richmond: Lennon 2, Martin 2, Riewoldt 2, Cotchin 2, Ellis, Butler, Rioli, Caddy, Edwards, Grigg. Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott 3, Treloar 2, White 2, Grundy, Mayne, Moore, Broomhead. BEST – Richmond: Cotchin, Martin, Rance, Houli.Collingwood: Grundy, Treloar, Pendlebury, Adams, Grundy. UMPIRES Schmitt, Kamolins, Deboy. CROWD 58,236 at MCG

Nathan Buckley could only lash out in the coaches box in frustration as Collingwood remained winless, this time their poor goal kicking to blame for a 19-point loss to Richmond on Thursday night.

Where the Magpies’ woes had been their sloppy disposal when heading into attacking 50 in a loss to the Western Bulldogs last week, they were left to lament their woeful conversion rate on this occasion at the MCG, ensuring a week of intense public scrutiny.

Fighting to retain his job, Buckley must now find a way for the Pies to regain their groove, with finals contenders Sydney (SCG) on Friday night, St Kilda (Etihad Stadium), Essendon (MCG) and Geelong (MCG) to come over the next month. The Pies led by 10 points at half-time but that would have been far more had they not botched a handful of opportunities in front of goal.

Darcy Moore, Jesse White, James Aish, Alex Fasolo and Adam Treloar would all miss shots they would be expected to convert, with even skipper Scott Pendlebury, admittedly on his right foot, spraying a running shot over the boundary.

There would be more frustration in the third term, none more obvious than when recruit Chris Mayne missed from about 20m out in front of goal, after the former Docker – who has had the yips in recent years – had done the hard work by successfully tackling Alex Rance. It was a telling miss. Fasolo, who had a dirty night, would later botch a set shot from 35m. This was enough to make any coach slip into a rage, and Buckley’s feelings were clear when he swiped at his desk in anger.

After an arm-wrestle in the first half, the Tigers made their run from late in the third term, incidentally after key forward-ruckman Ben Griffiths was helped from the field after landing heavily in a marking contest on the wing. He was clearly dazed and did not return.

Trailing by a game-high 17 points, the Tigers – despite the best efforts of indefatigable Pies ruckman Brodie Grundy – would respond to lead by seven points at the final change. The Tigers’ tackling pressure, as was the case against Carlton a week earlier, was instrumental in their comeback, as they outworked their opponents.

Dustin Martin may not have been as brilliant as he was against the Blues but he played a key role, whether that be through the midfield or up forward. His strong mark and successful snap with less than six minutes remaining would ice the win.

Adam Treloar found plenty of the ball for the Pies, so, too, did Trent Cotchin, who was brilliant. He would finish with 26 disposals, two goals, seven clearances and seven tackles. Dion Prestia was also busy with 24 disposals but his kicking percentage was poor. The Pies showed plenty of fight in the final term, with Will Hoskin-Elliott contributing three goals, but the Tigers responded in fine style.

“Collingwood are a fantastic side .. it’s just how you turn that momentum back your way. There were some fantastic efforts,” Cotchin said.

Buckley said he had been worried the Pies would struggle to run out the game after a taxing clash against the Bulldogs.

“We thought that we would struggle for legs. We felt like we really rolled out of the Bulldogs’ game and looked after the players as well as we possibly could, introduced some fresh legs in Aish and (Tim) Broomhead, went a bit smaller but, in the end, we weren’t able to maintain the rage for long enough,” he said.