Where and when: MCG, Saturday, May 25, 7.25pm AEST
Last time they met: MCG, round 22, 2018: Richmond 12.9 (81) defeated Essendon 11.7 (73)
Missing key midfielders Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert and Dion Prestia, the Tigers held on to seal a tight win after the Bombers kicked the last four goals of the game. Dustin Martin was Richmond’s best, while Devon Smith led the way for Essendon.
What it means for Richmond: An opportunity for a surprise top-four berth. Given Richmond’s injury list and the calibre of players on it, few would have expected the Tigers to have won as many games as they have.
What it means for Essendon: A win would go some way to stabilising a topsy-turvy season, levelling the win-loss ledger at five apiece. The Bombers have also lost 10 of their past 12 to the Tigers.
How Richmond wins: Using its multi-pronged attack to its advantage. Richmond’s forward line is starting to really hit its straps, and they should have too many avenues to goal for Essendon to counter.
How Essendon wins: Exploiting Richmond’s lack of height around the ground. Hawthorn looked dangerous while it had two fit rucks playing, both up forward and around the ground.
The stat: Saturday night marks the 15th Dreamtime at the ‘G match, with Richmond having won eight games and Essendon saluting on six occasions. Dustin Martin is the only two-time winner of the Yiooken Award for best on ground.
The match-up: Sydney Stack v Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti
An unlikely match-up at the start of the season, but it’s set to be a highly entertaining one. The pair are as tough as nails, with Stack the fourth-highest first-year player in the AFL Player Ratings (516th overall), while the Bomber is rated 82nd overall.
It’s a big week for: John Worsfold
It’s been a strange season for Essendon, recording wins over Melbourne, Brisbane, North Melbourne and Fremantle interspersed with disappointing losses. Knocking off a confident Richmond side would be a real feather and a step towards being a legitimate finals contender.
Thommo’s Tip: Tigers by 18 points
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