Where and when: Marvel Stadium, Saturday May 4, 7:25pm AEST
Last time they met: MCG, round 23, 2018: Richmond 15.8 (98) defeated Western Bulldogs 14.11 (95)
The Bulldogs challenged last season’s minor premiers in the final round. Richmond star forward Jack Riewoldt kicked his 600th career goal in a bag of five, Dogs midfielder Jack Macrae had 43 touches and Brad Lynch’s shot to pinch the result with seconds remaining hit the post. The win proved to be the Tigers penultimate in a record-breaking 22-game MCG winning streak.
What it means for the Western Bulldogs: Four losses in a row have the Dogs languishing two wins behind the eighth-placed Tigers. It’s too early to say season-defining, but it’s getting nearer that point.
What it means for Richmond: A spate of key injuries and two big defeats to Collingwood and GWS had the warning lights flashing. Three straight wins since then, led by Shane Edwards, Dylan Grimes and co., has shown the Tigers’ maturity. They can’t afford to drop these games in a log-jammed top eight.
How the Western Bulldogs win: The Bulldogs are 18th for goalkicking accuracy and have kicked more goals than behinds only once in 2019. If they clean up that vital part of the equation their contested work has them more than in the game.
How Richmond wins: Build the brick wall at half-back like they did against the Dees. Nick Vlastuin and Bachar Houli controlled proceedings and the tap-on Tigers kept the ball moving for the mosquito fleet up forward.
The stat: The previous five games between Richmond and the Bulldogs have been decided by 19 points or less.
The match-up: Sydney Stack v Bailey Smith
The draftees have had very different paths to their AFL dreams but are both having an exciting influence. Stack’s bump on Jack Viney is still reverberating, and the buzz in the crowd when he’s near the ball is tangible. Smith has settled into the midfield group and looks worth the pick No.7 used to obtain his services.
It’s a big week for: Luke Beveridge
Premiership coach Luke Beveridge will take charge of his 100th game for the Bulldogs. He has a winning percentage of 54.55 and needs to use every inch of his experience to arrest the slide.
Big call: Dustin Martin back in the Brownlow votes with 4+ goals
Thommo’s Tip: Tigers by 6 points
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