Talking points: Gold Coast v Richmond

1. Third time lucky
The Tigers’ three-year arrangement to play ‘home’ games in Cairns has been an unhappy one, but it finally drew premiership points after losses in 2011 and 2012. With 60,000 members who don’t want to see another game sold away from the MCG, Richmond’s dalliance with Cairns appears over. 11,197 locals voted with their feet, however, and are clearly keen for an annual match in northern Queensland. It is possible another Melbourne club could make the trip north to play a ‘home’ game against the Suns from next year.

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2. Thompson down
Gold Coast key defender Rory Thompson suffered a suspected shoulder injury early in the third quarter when he collided with Richmond midfielder Matthew Arnot. A shining light for the Suns this year, Thompson had kept opponent Jack Riewoldt goalless and to just two marks when injury struck, leaving the ground on a stretcher. The 22-year-old has been a standout in the Suns’ backline this year, playing on the opposition’s most dangerous forward and holding his own against Nick Riewoldt, Lance Franklin and Tom Hawkins.

3. Beautiful Cairns, ugly footy
The conditions at Cazaly Stadium would have taken some adjusting to for the Tigers and the footy wasn’t attractive. A stiff breeze at the open ground favoured the northern ‘Karmichael’ end and it played a prominent role. Gold Coast won the toss and kicked with the wind, kicking three goals to one with the Tigers flooding back in numbers to limit the damage. Richmond got an identical result in the second quarter before a wet weather slog in the second half with just four goals kicked after the main break as the contest descended in quality.

4. Edwards goes back and Grigg gets the vest
Aaron Edwards has made his name as a lead-up forward and it’s the role he’s played since coming into the Richmond line-up. On Saturday night, however, he was sent back, playing on small forward Aaron Hall before he was substituted out of the game at three-quarter time. Starting in the green vest was Shaun Grigg, who seemed a strange choice. The hard running midfielder has averaged 21.9 disposals this season, ranked No.4 at the club. His loss was Matt White‘s gain, however, with the speedster playing a rare full game.

5. Ablett not shining a good sign for Suns
It’s a sign of Gary Ablett‘s standing that 26 possessions, including five clearances and seven inside 50s, is a quiet night. Daniel Jackson (24, eight clearances and two goals) took the points on Saturday night, but Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna wasn’t fussed. “Obviously he didn’t stand out … with 30 possessions and three goals like he normally does,” the coach said. “I like to think the team’s growing up around him. We were competitive today and he doesn’t have a good game, I think that’s a good sign. We can’t just keep expecting him to do everything.


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