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AFL ScoreCentre: Richmond beat Essendon in Dreamtime at the 'G,

ABC Grandstand logoABC Grandstand 21/05/2022

Essendon have taken another hit in their AFL season from hell, suffering a 32-point defeat to Richmond in a fiery clash on Saturday night.

Dion Prestia (36 disposals) starred and Jack Riewoldt kicked four goals for the Tigers in their 11.14 (80) to 7.6 (48) win at the MCG.

The match started with the traditional pre-match Dreamtime ceremony on the pitch, during which Richmond players paid tribute to their Indigenous stars, the whole team participating in the war cry.

Between the sirens, Indigenous talents Shai Bolton and Maurice Rioli Jnr gave fitting contributions in the Dreamtime feature match, kicking two goals each.

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Liam Baker (30 disposals) and Daniel Rioli (26) continued their outstanding seasons and Robbie Tarrant stood tall in defence.

Prestia received the Yiooken Award as best afield.

But Kane Lambert was substituted out with hip soreness and Tom Lynch (hamstring) sat out the final quarter of a fourth consecutive win that firmed up Richmond's (6-4) spot in the top-eight.

Put under a fierce blowtorch this week, Essendon needed to show more fight than in their meek round-nine surrender to Sydney.

Ben Rutten's men repeatedly flew the flag in a fiery contest against the Tigers but never looked like being able to produce an upset win that could have sparked a turnaround in their campaign.

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The loss left them floundering near the foot of the ladder with a 2-8 record.

And making matters worse, Mason Redman was reported for striking Prestia off the ball.

Darcy Parish racked up 43 touches, including 19 contested possessions, in a losing cause but wasn't clean in his disposal by foot.

Zach Merrett (33 disposals) and Redman (29) found plenty of the ball and youngster Ben Hobbs kicked two goals.

Essendon great Matthew Lloyd led the chorus of criticism against his old club in recent days and would have been at least been pleased to see the Bombers show some aggression from the outset.

Sam Draper led the response that followed Tom Lynch crashing into Matt Guelfi's back and Redman laid a ferocious tackle to pin Bolton holding the ball.

It was one of 20 tackles laid by Essendon in the first quarter after they tallied just 30 for the entire game a week earlier.

But for all the Bombers' endeavour, they coughed the ball up too easily and were outclassed by a far more efficient Richmond side that featured 18 premiership players.

A run of five-straight Tigers goals either side of the first break gave them a lead they never relinquished.

Richmond sewed up a comfortable, if not pretty, victory midway through the final term when Bolton kicked his second major and cheekily waved 'goodbye' to the Essendon cheer squad.

AAP/ABC

St Kilda pulls away to beat Adelaide by 21 points 

Max King was the difference as St Kilda kicked the final four goals to overrun a brave Adelaide and claim a 21-point AFL victory at Adelaide Oval.

Saints spearhead King booted six goals straight while the Crows failed to make the most of their opportunities in front of goal as the Saints won 14.6 (90) to 9.15 (69) on Saturday night.

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King was the star throughout and well-supported by speedster Bradley Hill in his 200th match.

The Saints' midfield, missing captain Jack Steele due to a shoulder injury, was made to battle deep into the final term before sealing the win, but Hill stepped up with 30 disposals and a team-high 568m gained.

Hill's run-and-carry and clean kicking stood out in a scrappy contest and helped King do the damage closer to goal.

Brad Crouch was also important in his second match against his former club, with a goal and 14 of his 31 disposals contested.

Jack Sinclair was also prolific with 32 disposals.

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Ben Keays continued his strong form for the Crows with 27 disposals and Jordan Dawson was important with 22 touches and two goals but the lack of a focal point cost them.

Brodie Smith was another of the Crows' best and finished with 28 disposals and 659m gained.

It was a spirited opening from the Crows with Riley Thilthorpe looking lively and kicking an early goal in his first match since round one after a stint in the reserves and later on the sidelines with a knee injury.

But the Crows weren't able to make the most of their 18-9 inside 50s and trailed 1.5 to 2.1 at the first change after King slotted his second goal just before quarter-time.

The hosts continued their dogged efforts through the second term but again failed to capitalise on the scoreboard, and a 4.8 to 3.3 halftime lead was quickly erased by a goal to Tim Membrey and two more to King.

The Crows' inaccuracy in front of goal ultimately left the door open for the Saints to make the late charge that now has them well-placed for finals with a 7-3 record.

St Kilda will continue their chase for a top-four spot against North Melbourne next Sunday while Adelaide face Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday.

AAP

Melbourne powers past North Melbourne

Melbourne have secured their 17th-straight AFL win, barely getting out of second-gear in accounting for an improved North Melbourne by 47 points.

Last year's wooden spooners put in one of their best efforts of the season, even closing within six points midway through the third quarter, but the Demons (10-0) simply had too many weapons at Docklands on Saturday.

After booting the last two goals of the third quarter to lead by 22 points at the final change, Melbourne, who have rebranded themselves as Narrm for Sir Doug Nicholls Round, ran out winners 14.16 (100) to 8.5 (53).

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Star midfielder Clayton Oliver was clearly the best player on the ground, grabbing a career-high 45 possessions — the second time this season he has passed the magical 40 mark in a game — and 13 clearances.

After five weeks of uncompetitive performances that has shone the spotlight on coach David Noble, North fought hard until the Demons' weight of numbers — 74 inside-50s to 34 — eventually won out.

Tom McDonald and Bayley Fritsch kicked three goals each for the Demons, as did Cameron Zurhaar for North.

Melbourne's only concern was a suspected rib injury to winger Ed Langdon, who was on the end of a big Tarryn Thomas tackle in the first quarter.

Langdon was subbed out of the match for small forward Toby Bedford.

The Kangaroos' Curtis Taylor also suffered a rib injury and was replaced by Atu Bosenavulagi in the final term.

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Melbourne will host Fremantle in a top-four showdown at the MCG next Saturday, while the Kangaroos will be back at Docklands to face St Kilda on Sunday.

The Demons now have the most consecutive wins any AFL team has racked up since St Kilda won the first 19 games of the 2009 season.

They are just two wins away from equalling the historic club's greatest streak, set back in 1955-56.

AAP

Cats' second-half surge sees off Port

Geelong have broken Port Adelaide's four-game AFL winning streak, withstanding a fierce early challenge to win easily by 35 points.

The Cats kicked seven goals to two after half-time on Saturday at Kardinia Park and won 11.16 (82) to 7.5 (47).

Geelong improved to 6-4 and won two in a row for the first time since round four.

But Cats star Patrick Dangerfield was subbed out of the game in the last quarter with a tight calf.

Tyson Stengle kicked three goals for the Cats in Indigenous round and defender Tom Stewart starred, while midfielder Cam Guthrie racked up 37 possessions, including 15 contested.

Cats key forward Jeremy Cameron also kicked three goals, including a booming screw punt on three-quarter time that did a lot to decide the game.

Port utility Dan Houston had 30 disposals and took 11 marks.

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After a scrappy opening, Port key forward Jeremy Finlayson fittingly kicked the first goal of the match in Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

Finlayson, a distant relative of Sir Doug, goaled 17 minutes into the first quarter.

The Cats kicked the last three majors of the term to lead by 11 points.

Port briefly hit the front in the second quarter, but Geelong led by a point at the main break.

The Cats surprisingly took no marks inside 50m before half-time, despite ideal conditions and an attack boasting Tom Hawkins, Cameron and Gary Rohan, who returned from injury for his first game of the season.

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But the Cats went up a gear in the third, kicking five goals to one.

Finlayson had a very gettable shot on goal late in the term and kicked it out on the full.

The Cats raced the ball down the other end and Stengle kicked his third.

Cameron took a strong mark and kicked a massive goal with a screw punt from 50m on the three-quarter time siren to put another dagger through the Power.

Tellingly, heading into the last quarter the Cats had 20 scoring shots to nine.

AAP

Western Bulldogs hold off brave Gold Coast Suns

The Western Bulldogs have beaten a fast-finishing Gold Coast by 19 points to claim consecutive victories for the first time in 2022 and get their AFL season firmly back on track.

Luke Beveridge's Bulldogs have struggled for consistency all season but in front of a buzzing crowd in Ballarat, snatched the ascendancy via four unanswered third-quarter goals, and never gave up their lead from there to prevail 15.16 (106) to 13.9 (87).

Claiming back-to-back wins evens the inconsistent Bulldogs' ledger at 5-5 and sets the Suns back to 4-6.

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Marcus Bontempelli booted three clutch goals and had 24 disposals and Bailey Smith (34 disposals) continued his stellar season, while Ed Richards and Bailey Williams were influential at half-back and half-forward respectively.

Aaron Naughton looked set to break the game open with three first-half goals but was quietened by Sam Collins in the second half.

The Suns deserved plenty of credit for never giving up, especially after losing Rory Thompson to a second-quarter knee injury while they were also without Jy Farrar (concussion) after half time.

It was only Thompson's third game back after missing three seasons through two knee reconstructions.

Joel Jeffrey was brilliant, booting five goals, and was supported by Ben Ainsworth (three goals) while David Swallow worked hard in midfield.

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The Bulldogs drew first blood but the Suns got a foothold in the game when Farrar marked on the forward flank but Bulldogs youngster Buku Khamis came in late and high, giving away an immediate 50-metre penalty and subsequently, a goal.

Bulldogs gun Naughton was ominous up forward, booting two first-quarter goals while Jeffrey kicked a pair, including one after the siren, to cut the quarter-time deficit to eight points.

Naughton instinctively snapped his third early in the second term but Gold Coast stayed in the game via a clever finish from Ben Ainsworth, while Jeffrey added his third by intercepting a handball then snapping over his head.

The third period proved a cagey affair until Josh Dunkley took a big grab and kicked truly, with 200-gamer Adam Treloar, Robbie McComb and Bontempelli extending the lead beyond five goals.

Jeffrey stemmed the Suns' bleeding by snapping his fourth and the Suns fought back from there.

The Bulldogs threatened to seal four points on multiple occasions, especially when Bontempelli booted his third from long range.

But Gold Coast fought back time and time again in the final term, until McComb soccered his second with 37 seconds left, with Smith hammering home a wonderful goal on the final siren.

AAP

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