Richmond's VFL team bounced back in Sir Doug Nicholls Round as it notched its fifth win of the season to return to the top eight after defeating Essendon, 10.19.79 to 6.10 46, at the MCG.
The Tigers were never headed after a four-goal-to-one opening quarter but the Bombers remained persistent throughout the game after fighting back in the second and third quarters to remain within striking distance until the final change.
A number of Tigers also pressed their case for selection for the AFL team. After returning from injury last round, Hugo Ralphsmith won a game-high 27 disposals and was awarded the Sir Doug Nicholls Award for best on ground, Noah Cumberland impressed once again after collecting 16 disposals, took six marks and kicked 3.3 while Matthew Parker registered 22 disposals in a mid-forward role.
Round 10 of the VFL season will see Richmond travel north and face up against the Sydney Swans under Friday night lights at Lakeside Oval.
Richmond Centrals returned to the winners list after a tense 11-point win over Hawthorn, 16.16.112 to 15.11.101, in the VAFA Division Three Seniors, courtesy of a six-goal to-two final quarter and six goals from Dane Roy.
Senior Men's coach George Koumantatakis was pleased with the courage and belief the team showed after coming back from 28-points down in the latter stages of the third quarter.
"We hit the front with four minutes to go but they answered with the very next clearance and got one straight out with three-and-a-half minutes to go, to put us a point down," he said. "I felt like we had just about run out of chances - but we found a way to get forward again and managed to kick a goal and the sealer, just before the final siren.
"It was an emphatic and mature performance by the group to get it done."
With a record of 3-4 now, Koumantatakis believes that the close win could be just what the doctor ordered for Richmond to breathe life into its season, especially after welcoming some key personnel back into the line-up.
The Centrals Men's Reserves team had a resounding victory over Hawthorn by 109-points, 21.18.144 to 4.11.35, while the results were split in the Women in Premier C and C Reserves Grade, with the former falling 28-points short and the latter with a strong 61-point win.
Round nine will see Richmond's Division 3 Seniors play Parkside at Kevin Bartlett Reserve this Saturday at 2pm, as they look to make it consecutive wins.
The top four clash between the Kew Bears and Prahran Assumption in Division One certainly lived up to the hype as the Bears recorded a thrilling one-point win, 14.10.94 to 14.9.93 at home to hold onto second place on the ladder.
The Bears lead from start to finish but Prahran constantly nipped at their heels and almost pinched the win at the end. For Kew, Joshua Janssen and Ned Waters kicked five and four goals respectively, while Darcy Cotchett was best on ground.
Kew's Reserves had a 95-point win over Prahran's reserves, 20.15.135 to 6.4.40, while in the William Bucks Premier Women's, Kew comfortably defeated St Mary's Salesian by 91 points, 14.14.98 to 1.1.7.
It will be an all-Victorian A League grand final on Saturday after Western United and Melbourne City won their respective semi-final clashes against Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United.
Western United, which is only in its third season and finished 10th last year, knocked the Victory out of the finals last Saturday, after trailing 0-1 in the first leg to win 4-2 on aggregate.
Serbian international Aleksander Prijovic kicked two goals, taking his season tally to 12, while he also assisted Lachlan Wales who put United ahead in the tie and, most importantly, on aggregate at the 78th minute.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls sealed the result in the final minute of stoppage time after putting through United's fourth goal.
Melbourne City fought off a plucky Adelaide outfit in a tough encounter to progress to its third consecutive grand final.
After falling behind following half time, City was able to equalise through Marco Tilio's header. Star striker Jamie Maclaren put the side ahead two minutes into extra time, which proved enough in a tense extra time period.