Richmond remain in the hunt for a top-four finish after grinding out a workman-like 27-point AFL win over a brave Essendon in the wet at the MCG.
The Tigers led by just four points after a first half played in heavy rain but slowly wore down the persistent Bombers to score the 10.14 (74) to 7.5 (47) win.
The slippery conditions ensured the contest was more of a hard slog than a display of exquisite skills and Damien Hardwick will be pleased with how his players rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in after a slow start.
Interim Essendon coach Matthew Egan will also see plenty of positives in his second game in charge since replacing James Hird, with the Dons far from disgraced in retiring triple-premiership player Paul Chapman’s farewell game.
Irish debutant Conor McKenna got his AFL career off to a flying start when he slotted the opening goal of the game with his first kick, with the Bombers getting the better of the early exchanges.
The Tigers trailed by two points at the first break but started to win the battle for territory after the restart with two quick goals to Ty Vickery in his 100th AFL match the highlight of an otherwise wayward display.
While a resurgent Richmond peppered the goals, the Bombers kicked five majors straight to halftime, with that uncanny accuracy in such trying conditions keeping them within striking distance.
Kamdyn McIntosh was a key figure as the Tigers took their game up a notch in the third quarter with a remarkable running goal assist, that included three soccer kicks under pressure from Brent Stanton, eventually setting up Dustin Martin.
Richmond still couldn’t completely break free and led by 16 points at three-quarter time, but they finally got some breathing space with the first two goals of the final term.
With the game almost over, Courtenay Dempsey slung Brett Deledio head-first to the turf in a scary tackle that will surely draw the attention on the match review panel, but the influential Tiger was at least able to leave the ground under his own steam.