See the key stats that helped Richmond hold off a fierce late Williamstown challenge and secure the 2019 premiership in a classic Hard Yakka / Totally Workwear VFL ‘Love the Game’ Grand Final.
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RICHMOND 8.10 (58) d WILLIAMSTOWN 7.13 (55)
KEY TO VICTORY: Seagulls veteran Willie Wheeler could attest that it’s a fine line – or in this case, a thin post – between glory and agony, and indeed, both sides could easily have won this match based on stretches of success with their preferred game styles. The team defence of the Tigers allowed them to generate what ultimately proved a premiership-winning 60 inside-50s to 38, while Williamstown’s control in the contest – 141-132 contested possessions and 43-27 clearances – nearly saw it home.
The game’s defining period was arguably the first quarter, when Richmond set up a wall forward of centre and feasted on turnovers from a Seagulls defence that lacked composure with ball in hand. The Tigers recorded 24 inside-50s to just two in the term, creating a 28-point break that Williamstown could never make up. The rabid pressure applied by Norm Goss Medal winner Marlion Pickett (game-high nine tackles), Dan Butler (seven) and Jacob Townsend (seven) nicely complemented the intercepting ability of Callum Coleman-Jones (seven marks – four contested), Hugh Beasley (six – two contested) and VFL captain Steve Morris (four – two contested).
Richmond’s back line further earned its keep when the Seagulls started converting their stoppage dominance into scoring opportunities from the second stanza onwards. Eight Williamstown on-ballers won at least four clearances (the Tigers had three), led by skipper Adam Marcon (seven clearances), Mitch Hibberd (five) and Nick Meese (four) – whose 45 hitouts was 37 more than his best opponent. Nick Ebinger (game-high nine marks – four contested) began providing a link between the centre and forward line, and the Seagulls ended up outscoring Richmond by 25 points from the same number of inside-50s following quarter-time. It was only missed opportunities and a desperate Tigers defence late in the match that separated Williamstown from glory.
BEST STAT: It’s not often talked about as a key stat in football, but the spoils count provides a good indication of how Richmond held off the Seagulls. The Tigers made 41 spoils to 32, with key defenders Hugh Beasley and Ryan Garthwaite as well as Steve Morris all recording a game-high six spoils. Their furious fists regularly prevented Williamstown from marking the ball in dangerous areas when moving it forward.
GRAND FINAL STATS LEADERS
DISPOSALS (25): Mitch Hibberd (Williamstown)
KICKS (16): Derek Eggmolesse-Smith (Richmond)
HANDBALLS (13): Mitch Hibberd (Williamstown)
MARKS (9): Nick Ebinger (Williamstown)
TACKLES (9): Marlion Pickett (Richmond)
CLEARANCES (8): Maverick Weller (Richmond)
CONTESTED POSSESSIONS (14): Mitch Hibberd (Williamstown)
UNCONTESTED POSSESSIONS (12): Luke English (Richmond), Nick Mellington (Williamstown) and Willie Wheeler (Williamstown)
INSIDE-50s (6): Fraser Turner (Richmond)
REBOUND-50s (7): Jack Dorgan (Williamstown)
HITOUTS (45): Nick Meese (Williamstown)
GOALS (2): Riley Collier-Dawkins (Richmond) and Jacob Townsend (Richmond)