Ty Vickery was punched in the face but Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was left feeling the most pain after watching his side slump to a 68-point loss to West Coast at Domain Stadium.
The Tigers were obliterated in a match crucial to their finals hopes, with West Coast opening up a 54-point lead by halftime before cruising to a 18.17 (125) to 9.3 (57) rout.
Hardwick said his team had taken a half-step back in last week’s loss to Adelaide, but at the time was confident they would soon take two steps forward.
However, on the evidence of Friday night, the only way Richmond are going is backwards – and fast.
The inside-50m count told the tale, with West Coast winning the key stat 60-27.
The Eagles also registered 35 scoring shots compared with Richmond’s 12.
Richmond are nursing a worrying 1-3 record heading into next week’s clash with Melbourne.
But Hardwick won’t be the only one feeling the heat in coming days: Eagles ruckman Scott Lycett faces certain suspension for his brain fade that resulted in him punching Vickery.
Vickery arrived in Perth as enemy No.1 for his crude hit on Dean Cox two years earlier, but Lycett was the one who lost his cool this time around, punching Vickery in the face while the two were in a heated jumper-tug battle.
Jumper punches are common in the AFL, but Lycett’s mistake was using his free hand to deliver the blow.
Although the force Lycett used wasn’t enough to cause serious damage, the high nature of the contact and intent will surely land him in hot water.
West Coast were dealt a huge blow before the match when Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis was ruled out with a groin injury.
But the Eagles were still able to take complete control of the midfield battle, enabling them to feed their forward line throughout the night.
Richmond were all at sea in the opening term. And if it wasn’t for the Eagles’ inaccurate goal-kicking, the 32-point margin at quarter time would have been far greater.
For the Tigers to claw their way back, they needed to at least halve the midfield battle.
But with ruckman Shaun Hampson nursing a leg injury that restricted him to a slow trot, West Coast continued to run rampant.
Hampson failed to reappear after halftime, and although Richmond briefly fought back early in the third quarter, it was far too little, too late.
To add salt to the wound, David Astbury suffered a badly rolled ankle in the final term.
West Coast are now 3-1 heading into next week’s blockbuster clash with Sydney at the SCG.
Midfield trio Andrew Gaff, Luke Shuey, and Elliot Yeo starred against the Tigers, with ruck duo Nic Naitanui and Lycett controlling the taps.
Jack Riewoldt was a rare shining light for Richmond with four goals, while Alex Rance fought hard in defence.