Richmond’s remarkable surge towards the AFL finals continued when Brett Deledio inspired a slogging 10-point victory against Adelaide on Saturday night.
The Tigers won a seventh consecutive match for the first time in nearly two decades, prevailing 10.19 (79) to 9.15 (69) at a rain-soaked Adelaide Oval.
Deledio kicked two goals and was a standout for Richmond, now ninth on the ladder and on their longest winning streak since 1995.
The Tigers controlled proceedings until a last-term surge by the Crows lifted them to the lead – three points up with four minutes to go.
But Richmond’s unheralded Nathan Gordon snapped his second goal and Dustin Martin soon slotted his second of the match to keep the Tigers’ season alive.
Deledio was instrumental in the triumph, collecting 29 disposals, while his teammates Brandon Ellis (31 touches) and captain Trent Cotchin (28 disposals) were prominent.
Adelaide’s Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts and James Podsiadly each booted two goals but the Crows produced few clear-cut four-quarter winners.
The Crows still cling to eighth spot despite the loss before a home crowd of 50,459 spectators – but were fortunate three other rivals for that ladder position lost this round.
The home side struggled from outset as Deledio goaled in just 14 seconds – the first of three unanswered Tiger majors inside the initial seven minutes of the game.
Richmond’s early onslaught gave them precious breathing space which the visitors never relinquished – Adelaide snuck within four points late in the second stanza.
But Richmond held sway and led by 13 points at halftime before a slippery stalemate of a third quarter was punctuated by a head injury to Adelaide’s David Mackay, who was stretchered off after an accidental head clash with Anthony Miles.
The third term also featured a contentious goal review when Adelaide’s Sloane snapped a goal which stood for about two minutes – until video reviewers deemed the kick hit the post.
Adelaide trailed by 19 points at the last change but booted four goals to none in 13 minutes to take the lead, only for the Tigers to rally late to bank a precious 10th win of the season.