Richmond Tigers defeat the high flying Sydney Swans in a thrilling AFL upset at the MCG

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Adem Yze tasted victory for the first time as Richmond coach as his spirited Tigers overcame the absence of Dustin Martin and other premiership heroes to defeat Sydney by five points in a thrilling finish at the MCG.

Yze has a long way to go to endear himself to the Richmond faithful like Damien Hardwick but he can take solace in the fact that he put on a win on the board quicker than his predecessor did in his first year.

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The Tigers out-hunted the previously unbeaten Swans from the outset and their ferocious pressure and attack on the ball held them in good stead as they hung on for dear life after leading by 16 points at three quarter time.

Tim Taranto and Shai Bolton lead the way in the middle as Nick Vlaustin saved the day on countless occasions down back in the nailbiting 11.16 (82) to 11.11 (77) victory.

Maintaining the rage was their issue in losses to Port Adelaide and Carlton but much to the delight of the roaring Tiger Army, their side was able to respond from six unanswered goals by the Swans with five unanswered third-quarter goals of their own.

Tom Lynch willed the Tigers back into the contest by nailing back-to-back goals in the third term to stop the rut while Liam Baker was inspirational with relentless pressure, putting himself in dangerous positions forward of centre and putting his side back in front with his second goal.

They would not surrender the lead again but their three-quarter time lead quickly whittled away and the Swans could sniff victory when Tom Papley snapped their second goal of the term and charged off with a trademark celebration.

Shai Bolton snapped truly to steady the nerves not long after and the Tigers’s wave of momentum ensured they hung on despite not kicking another goal.

Nick Vlaustin was a brick wall in defence as he collected 15 intercept possessions and then propelled the Tigers into attack by operating at a disposal efficiency of 100 per cent.

Vlaustin was mighty in the goal keeper role and executed many desperate defensive efforts to perfection to repel the Swans’ attack late in the game.

Teammate Daniel Rioli was the only other player on the ground to reach double figures for intercept possessions.

Thomson Dow produced one of the best performances of his career with six clearances, second only to Tim Taranto, while Seth Campbell matched Bolton as the leading players on the ground for inside 50s with eight.

The tackling pressure of Rhyan Mansell and Maurice Rioli Jr in the forward half was also immense with six apiece.

Former Melbourne Storm development squad member Mykelti Lefeau showed poise beyond his experience to nail two important goals.

The New Zealand born 26-year-old debuted last week and he received thunderous applause in the first quarter when he perfectly executed a right foot banana from the City End pocket to kick his first AFL goal.

The noise was deafening for his second career goal however as he slotted a set shot from 45m on a roughly 45 degree angle as part of the Tigers’ third quarter onslaught before he was later subbed off.

Spot fires were breaking out during the second quarter and tempers flared when Liam Baker crashed into Swans defender Lewis Melican late in a marking contest.

Baker charged back with the flight to try to spoil Melican but braced late and appeared to make contact with Melican’s chest and head prompting his Swans teammates to remonstrate immediately with Baker and his teammate Tom Lynch.

Melican left the ground after taking his kick but there seemed to be little concern as no concussion test was administered on the bench and he played out the game.

As Richmond welcomed back Nathan Broad, Maurice Rioli Jr and Tylar Young from their respective injuries, they were hit by further injury pain with Dustin Martin and Dylan Grimes withdrawn from the side during the week.

Martin battled through the calf issue he sustained via a knock prior to Richmond’s opening game against Gold Coast – which he missed as a result – in their two most recent starts against Port Adelaide and Carlton but has re-aggravated the concern.

Grimes meanwhile has a wrist issue and the Tiger’s backline is already undermanned after Josh Gibcus did his ACL in Round 1.

Their midfield was also light on with Dion Prestia (hamstring), Jacob Hopper (knee) and Jack Graham (quad) on the sidelines.

Tom Lynch also ducked off with what he called “a little hammy” during the last quarter.

Originally published as Richmond Tigers notch Adem Yze’s first win in Sydney Swans upset

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