Richmond’s dramatic comeback AFL win over Sydney last week happened partly because they were sick of being pushed around.
Tigers midfielder Brandon Ellis made no apology for the physical niggle that marked the pulsating match, saying it was part of the game.
Down by 32 points at the main break, Richmond kicked 11 goals to three for one of the best wins this season.
“That was probably the big point that came out on Monday (in the team review),” Ellis said.
“They basically did bully us in the first half and we weren’t going to cop it anymore, so we just thought we’d come out and play the way we knew we could play.
“What they did in the first half, we did to them in the second half.”
Richmond defender Alex Rance had a particularly physical duel with Sydney star Lance Franklin.
“That’s just a part of the game,” Ellis said.
“The boys love doing it, so whenever we get the chance, why not do it?
“But Rancey and Buddy … it was pretty funny watching it on Monday.
“Rancey probably provoked the bear … I don’t know if he’ll be doing that again.”
Along with being prepared to take on Sydney physically, Richmond also ramped up their contested ball work on the second half.
“I guess contested ball, we were down in that area and we really pride ourself on that,” Ellis said.
“We know how good Sydney are at contested ball and I guess they were first to it in the first half.
“We just had to change our attitude, get their first and get the ball moving forward.”
After a poor start to the season, Richmond have won five or their last six games and are sixth on the ladder.
This Saturday they host GWS, who have the same 7-5 record but are out of the top eight and struggling with a bad run of injuries.
After beating Sydney and Fremantle this month, the Tigers are brimming with confidence.
“We believe every week that we can beat whoever we’re up against, especially now that we’ve beaten Freo and Sydney – two of the best teams in the competition,” Ellis said.
“But there’s still another 10 or 11 games to go, so we just have to keep focussing on them.
“Anything possible. We just have to keep working on what we can control and just work on this week, focussing on GWS.”
Ellis said a big reason for Richmond’s improvement this season has been lesser reliance on their big names.
“We have improved – we’re not always looking up to our stars to get us over the line each week,” he said.
“It’s our second- and third-tier players now who are stepping up and being more consistent.”