All eyes will be on Essendon and coach Ben Root in his final game as senior coach.
The Bombers’ (7-14, 85.4%) 84-point loss to Port Adelaide brought boardroom turmoil and heightened focus on Rutton’s role as the club launched an unsuccessful 11th-hour bid for Alastair Clarkson.
Richmond (12-8-1, 118.7%) were guaranteed a finals berth after last week’s win over Hawthorn, but now it’s a matter of whether the team finishes seventh or eighth at the end of the competition.
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There were no late changes on either side. Jay Menzie (Essendon) and Jason Castagna (Richmond) were medical substitutes.
Speaking to Channel Seven pre-game, Root was asked directly if he could see himself coaching the Bombers in 2023 under his contract.
“Absolutely,” he said.
“I really believe in the squad we’ve got at the football club and what we’re building.
“I would love to be able to see it at this level and that is my goal at this level.”
Noah Cumberland got the Tigers off to a major start, but Essendon responded instantly with a Jack Stringer goal from 50 metres.
Cumberland scored three goals in two minutes to start the game and soon crushed the ball.
The Bombers missed two chances before Richmond scored through Dion Prestia.
Massimo D’Ambrosio’s razor sharp left boot helped the Bombers to a second goal as they continued to find themselves against their more polished opponents.
Maurice Rioli Jr. added another goal to Richmond’s lead, but D’Ambrosio converted from the free kick.
Essendon trailed by 19 points at quarter-time but came out of the blocks in the second term, with Darcy Parish and Peter Wright really kicking.
Things turned sour when Stringer blocked an errant knee to the back of the head from Marlion Pickett.
Stringer had to be helped off the ground by trainers and taken straight to the changing rooms, with the Bombers’ sub-heat rising.
Essendon’s fortunes began to take a turn for the worse as Richmond scored back-to-back goals through Jack Rialt and Shane Edwards.
A good chance was created when Sub Menzie was given a 50 meter penalty after bringing it 10 meters from the goal area.
It was related to Major Cumberland and then another to Edward.
Wright really struck for the second goal to keep the Bombers up 19 points at half time.
This match kicks off at 7:25pm AEST from the MCG.
Watch it live on Fox Footy (Channel 504) from 7pm AEST.
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