Tigers stumble in AFL win over Saints

The would-be AFL big boys looked more like lost boys in the last term before Richmond held on for the win over St Kilda.

Trailing by 52 points at three-quarter time, the Saints piled on six goals in 19 minutes before the Tigers steadied on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

While it was Richmond’s fourth-straight win, the 0.3 to 6.3 last quarter meant coach Damien Hardwick was far from happy.

Hardwick publicly christened July “big boy month” for the Tigers, saying this is when teams show whether they are contenders.

Sunday’s win meant the Tigers stayed fifth, a game outside the top four.

But after opening July with wins over GWS, Carlton and St Kilda – all below them on the ladder – Richmond end the month with massive games against Fremantle and Hawthorn.

Hardwick said they are looking forward to testing themselves against the Dockers, who remain a game clear on top of the ladder despite patchy form.

“We have played against, and without being disrespectful to sides, that we should have beaten and have beaten,” Hardwick said.

“But now we look forward to challenging ourselves against a really good side in Fremantle, that probably a little bit like us are not playing their best footy.

“In fairness, you probably don’t want to be playing your best footy at this time of year.”

Hardwick also made it clear that the last-quarter fadeout against St Kilda had taken the gloss off the win.

“We have spoken about the importance of this month from a football perspective and it just would have been nice to have good consistency of performance to finish off the game,” he said.

“You review the game in a different light.

“Defensively and offensively in the last quarter we were nowhere near the level we need to play.”

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