THE Northern Blues found themselves on the receiving end of a 44-point defeat at the hands of Richmond at the MCG.
With finals football still on the line for Northern, it was Richmond who cemented its status as minor premier for the second straight year on the back of a dominant first half.
Despite some encouraging signs in the third quarter by the Blues, it wasn’t enough to come away with the victory as the Tigers proved too strong.
It was an emphatic performance by Richmond in the opening term with the breeze as its back, dominating possession from the outset. Despite the Tigers' midfielders getting first-use from the outset, Matthew Kennedy battled manfully in the middle of the ground to get some movement for the Blues. Liam Stocker got Northern’s first for the day after some unselfishness from Tom De Koning, but it was Richmond who took a 37-point lead into quarter time.
Northern started the second quarter with better intent and desire at the contest, getting the first two goals of the term - through Alex Johnson and Cameron Polson - on the back of strong forward-line pressure. However, Richmond had all the answers and was able to generate its customary quick ball movement and run from the opening quarter to kick four unanswered goals back to take a 50-point lead at the main change.
The third quarter belonged to Northern, with the Blues coming out with an attacking mindset and quick ball movement. It typified what was clearly Northern's best quarter for the game, kicking five goals for the term. Stocker kicked his second of the game to start the Blues' positive run, while Ben Silvagni showed some positive signs when swung into the forward line. Paddy Dow's run and dash in the middle had the Blues winning the ball out of the centre more frequently. Richmond was still able to maintain its intensity around the ground to keep their 37-point lead at three-quarter time.
Richmond asserted itself on the contest to start the final term, despite Northern’s best efforts to maintain the run and intensity at the contest it displayed in the third term. Named captain for the day, Kennedy continued to lead the way in the midfield, competing and running both ways for to finish the day with 28 disposals. Despite De Koning and Silvagni both recording multiple goals, it wasn’t enough as Richmond kicked five final-quarter goals to run away with the 44-point victory.
NORTHERN BLUES 1.2 3.5 8.9 12.12 (84)
RICHMOND VFL 7.3 11.7 14.10 19.14 (120)
GOALS: De Koning 2, Johnson 2, Silvagni 2, Stocker 2, Hill, Lobbe, O’Dwyer, Polson