Sandringham 5.4 9.9 12.10 12.17 (89)
Richmond VFL 6.5 7.6 13.12 14.14 (98)
Sandringham: Shenton 3, Fisscher 3, Curren 2, Dennis-Lane, Saunders, White, O’Kearney
Richmond: Kirby 5, Conca 2, Vickery 2, Lennon, McBean, Butler, Maric, Drummond
Sandringham: Shenton, White, Fisscher, Weickhardt, Curren, Coughlan
Richmond: Miles, Mellington, Conca, Ballard, Kirby, Silvestro
Sandringham’s top four aspirations have been dealt a fatal blow, going down to Richmond by nine-points at Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday afternoon.
In a game of two halves, the Zebras surrendered a 15-point half-time lead when Richmond booted six straight goals in the third term. Inaccuracy cost Sandringham once again, who hit the scoreboard six times in the last without registering a major.
Defeat places the Zebras in a precarious position, with top four now out of the question. Sliding to seventh, inferior percentage means Sandringham can only finish as high as fifth should they right their wrongs next Sunday against Werribee.
It was a seesawing opening half, with neither side able to maintain momentum. Late second quarter goals to Tom Curren, Josh Saunders and Cam Shenton gave Sandringham a 15-point lead and a strong platform to build from.
However, that advantage was wiped in a spell of scintillating football from the Tigers. Nearly every inside 50 entry resulted in a Richmond goal, in a flash Sandringham’s lead had quickly turned into a 35-point deficit. Like the second, the Zebras played another “get out of jail” card when Curren and forward Joe Fisscher booted two quick majors late on in the quarter.
With the final term came torrential rain, playing into the Zebra’s hands. The wet weather enabled Sandringham to lock the ball inside their forward half and chase victory.
Miss after miss after miss and it was the same old story for the Zebras – unable to capitalize on the dominance and rue periods of poor football.
Sandringham’s skill errors, particularly by foot, proved costly as Richmond showed poised to punish the Zebras at every opportunity. Kayle Kirby led the Tigers dominance going forward, with a number of his five goals coming from Sandringham turnovers.
In a game of few positives, senior coach Paul Hudson will be pleased with the performance of his forwards. Captain Trent Dennis-Lane, despite fading late, showed his importance in his first game back from injury with a goal and four marks. Joe Fisscher returned in style with three goals, while Cam Shenton once again led the way with three majors also.
Josh Saunders was excellent in a midfield display with plenty of attacking dominance. Many of his seven marks and 30 disposals were in the forward half, taking the game on when Sandringham needed a spark.
While in the back half, the continued development of Brandon White will please those in higher places at St Kilda. The 19-year-old was amongst the bests off half back, showing off a booming left foot for 26 disposals and six tackles. His last quarter (11 disposals), in particular, was sublime and created a launch pad as Sandringham went after the win.
Life doesn’t get any easier for the Zebras, who head to Werribee next week desperate to create momentum for finals in a fortnight’s time.