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JLT 1 Match Report

Adam Saad provided an early highlight on Saturday with a thrilling running goal for the Bombers.

Richmond has shaken off any pre-season cobwebs, thumping a disappointing Essendon in a ruthless pre-season performance in Wangaratta on Saturday.

The premiers took to the JLT Community Series with an obvious hunger to repeat their 2017 heroics, beating the Bombers by 87 points at Norm Minns Oval.

Ruckman Toby Nankervis was the Tigers' only casualty, suffering concussion early in the match when his head hit the turf. He will have 11 days to recover before the team's second pre-season game, against North Melbourne.

Essendon midfielder Zach Merrett also suffered concussion early in the match, while big-name recruit Jake Stringer was cut open by an accidental elbow to the head from Alex Rance.

The Tigers have repeatedly spoken this pre-season about maintaining a hunter's mindset, and on Saturday they walked the walk on the way to a 19.10 (124) to 5.7 (37) win.

The premiers maintained their trademark small forward line and rattled an Essendon defence that conceded eight consecutive goals either side of quarter-time, and another eight in the third quarter.

The Bombers also struggled to hit targets in attack, with All Australian forward Joe Daniher going goalless and taking just two marks opposed to Alex Rance, while Stringer finished with just six touches in a disappointing outing.

Whether it was the Tigers' pressure or a lack of chemistry, the Bombers have a lot of work to do on their ball movement between now and their round one clash against Adelaide on March 23.

The Tigers, meanwhile, look cherry ripe and Damien Hardwick had the luxury of placing his midfield guns Dustin Martin (24 possessions and a goal) and Trent Cotchin (17 and one) on the bench for the fourth quarter.

From here, the only headaches the coach will have will be of the selection kind as he ponders his best forward line and who should replace suspended defender Nathan Broad for the season opener against Carlton.

In attack, small forward Shai Bolton made a strong case to come into the mix if Daniel Rioli is unavailable because of a foot injury, kicking three goals and creating others with his pressure and creativity.

In defence, Hardwick faces a choice between half-back Reece Conca, who finished with 15 possessions, or second-year tall Ryan Garthwaite, who showcased his ability to play on both tall and small opponents.

RICHMOND          4.5   8.6   16.8   19.10 (124)

ESSENDON           2.1   3.4   4.6   5.7 (37)

McKernan 2, Begley, Saad, Smith   
Bolton 3, Caddy 2, Castagna 2, Townsend 2, Riewoldt, Martin, Cotchin, Edwards, Ellis, Graham, Grigg, McIntosh, Short, Chol  

Smith, Heppell, McKenna, Parish, Zaharakis, Saad

Richmond: Martin, Caddy, Cotchin, Castagna, Riewoldt, Bolton, Grigg 

Zach Merrett (concussion)
Nankervis (concussion)  

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Mollison, Chamberlain, Stevic  

Official crowd: approx. 11,000 at Norm Minns Oval in Wangaratta