Bombers hold on to beat Tigers in Dreamtime nail-biter

Essendon have had a massive scare before beating Richmond by 12 points in the AFL Dreamtime At The ‘G blockbuster.

The Bombers kicked two goals to one in the last term to beat Richmond 12.14 (86) to 10.14 (76), the first time in 12 years they’ve had successive wins over the Tigers.

After massive losses to the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane and managing a massive casualty list, Richmond rallied behind stars Dustin Martin, Shai Bolton, Liam Baker and Toby Nankervis.

In his 298th game, Martin kicked three goals and missed two more shots in the last term.

Martin also had a kick inside 50m late in the game, after Hugo Ralphsmith had goaled to give Richmond some late hope.

But Essendon were able to clear the ball and that proved Richmond’s last chance.

Richmond suffered a massive blow early in the last term when Bolton, who had been outstanding, was forced out of the game.

Richmond’s Shai Bolton (centre) was helped off the field after being injured against Essendon. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Bolton bravely backed into a marking contest and Mykelti Lefau cannoned into his back.

Returning from injury for his first senior game this season, Essendon defender Jordan Ridley was best afield with 31 disposals, 12 marks and a goal.

Bombers captain Zach Merrett continued his strong form and kicked a crucial goal in the last term.

In their 200th game, Essendon forward Jake Stringer lit up the first quarter with all three of the Bombers’ goals. I finished the match with a game-high four.

But Richmond’s pressure was outstanding and scores were level at the first break.

Adding to Essendon’s early troubles, Nik Cox was forced out of the game with a left hamstring injury.

The Bombers twice looked ready to break clear of Richmond, going 18 points up in the second term and 14 points ahead in the third.

But the Tigers rallied, with Lefau kicking the last two goals of the second term to make it a six-point lead to the Bombers at the main break.

Then when the Bombers were looking dangerous in the third quarter, Bolton marked and goaled.

The speedy Indigenous star then lit up the MCG with a three-bounce run that set up Martin for his third goal.

That reduced the margin to two points, before Kyle Langford’s second goal just before three-quarter-time gave the Bombers an important eight-point break.

Clearances had been a massive problem for Richmond and they won that statistic by 10 on Saturday night, with Nankervis racking up eight among his 44 hitouts.