Jack Riewoldt has bounced back from an extraordinary week, removing his boot from his mouth to kick an 11-goal haul against Greater Western Sydney.
At one stage, Riewoldt had 11 straight during a thumping 113-point victory for the Tigers, whose season hit rock bottom during last weekend’s loss to Melbourne. The Tigers strolled to a 24.10 (154) to 5.11 (41) victory at Spotless Stadium and improved their season record to 3-6.
Damien Hardwick was furious when the enigmatic full forward spoke out on Wednesday about the Tigers’ game plan, admitting that Richmond had been struggling to implement a new, precision-kicking game based on that of premiers Hawthorn.
Hardwick met with an apologetic Riewoldt on Thursday, and threatened to dump him from the side. “We caught up with him this morning and removed his foot from his mouth and my foot from his arse,” Hardwick said at the time.
After the match, Riewoldt said: “I was pretty devastated with how it came across. I let the coach down; I let the side down.
“Today I was coming in with the mindset of just trying to pay the faith back in Dimma (Hardwick) and the boys and the footy club.”
GWS scored little more than half of Riewoldt’s tally as they crashed to a sixth straight loss.
Playing their first game at Spotless Stadium in seven weeks, GWS – who started with the same 2-6 record as Richmond – were on the wrong end of a 100-point plus scoreline for a second straight game.
They again showed alarmingly little fight following a 110-point loss to West Coast in Perth, where Eagles forward Josh Kennedy kicked 10 goals.
Richmond kicked 13 straight goals after the two teams exchanged the first two majors of the match, with GWS not kicking their second six-pointer until the second minute of the third.
Their first 12 scoring shots were goals, as they kicked 8.0 to 1.5 in the first quarter, then doubled their 37-point advantage by halftime after booting 6.2 to 0.1 in the second.
The Giants threatened a revival of sorts when Rhys Palmer and Jeremy Cameron, who started the game down back, kicked successive goals to trim the deficit to 62.
But the Tigers slammed on the next seven goals, four of them to Riewoldt, to swell their buffer to 103 points at the last change.
Riewoldt thrashed a host of GWS defenders. He had seven goals to half-time and booted another four in the third to make it 11 straight. He did not miss until the final quarter, when he kicked two behinds, including a poster with his last shot at goal.
Leigh Matthews savaged the GWS defence, saying on 3AW that too many of Riewoldt’s goals came easily: “I’ve never seen a worse defensive effort by a back six.”
After Riewoldt’s 11th, Matthews said: “At least he’s now earned his last two or three.”