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Northern Blues succumb to Tigers

THE Northern Blues have succumbed to defeat against ladder-leader Richmond at the Swinburne Centre.

In torrential conditions across four quarters, the Tigers proved too strong, handing the Blues a 13.14 (92) to 7.12 (54) loss.

On a day where the Blues made nine changes in the build-up to the match, Northern defended admirably in the first quarter against a strong wind.

However, two late goals in the term left Northern trailing by 21 points heading into the first break.

On his return from an ankle injury, young Blue Matthew Kennedy brought up the first major of the day, working the wind to his advantage beautifully.

Northern Knights youngster Joel Naylor then bobbed up with a mark and straight set shot, bringing the margin back to a kick against the 2017 VFL grand finalists. 

With Northern beginning to gain the ascendancy in midfield and win the territory battle, a late Tyson Stengle goal kicked the home side back out to a two-goal lead.

The job was made more difficult for the Blues, with Cameron O’Shea and Alex Silvagni not returning after half-time due to injury.

Richmond began the second half by blowing the match open, kicking three goals in a hurry to have the Blues on the back foot early in the second half.

It was left to captain Tom Wilson to steady the ship, sneaking one home from long range against the flow. 

However, the Tigers’ response to Wilson’s goal was swift.

They were again able to fire away three unanswered goals to end the term with a game-high 47-point lead.

The six-goal three-quarter-time margin proved a bridge too far for the Blues.

They battled manfully in the final term, kicking four of the first five goals and taking the game to their counterparts.

However, their efforts couldn’t get the job done, ultimately falling short by 38 points.

Captain Wilson played a standout game, kicking two goals to go with his 25 disposals and 10 tackles.

Kennedy also made a strong impression in his first game in over a month, notching up 27 disposals to go with his second-quarter goal.

First year player Tom De Koning was a shining light with seven marks, providing an outlet all day in tough conditions, while VFL-listed Sam Fisher played arguably his best game for the club.

Youngsters Kym Lebois, Cillian McDaid and Jarrod Pickett also made successful returns after lengthy stints on the sidelines with injury as well.

Northern will head to Olympic Park Oval next week against Collingwood with the first bounce scheduled for Sunday 11:30am.

RICHMOND VFL         3.5     4.10    10.13    13.14 (92)
NORTHERN BLUES     0.2     2.7        3.8        7.12 (54)

Northern Blues: 
Wilson 2, Garlett, Kennedy, Lobbe, Naylor, Palmer

Northern Blues: 
Wilson, Hill, De Koning, Kennedy, Phillips, Fisher