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Richmond will be the 2018 minor premiers after defeating Essendon

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TODAY’S LINE-UP from 6PM: Matthew Lloyd, Tony Shaw, Mick Warner, Dwayne Russell, Bruce Eva, and Nat Edwards.

Photo: Julian Smith / AAP

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FULL TIME

Richmond will be the 2018 minor premiers.

The Tigers took a two-game lead over West Coast on top of the table with an eight-point win over Essendon on Friday night.

It would take two implausibly large wins for the Eagles (and a Richmond loss in Round 23) for the Tigers to be denied the top spot on the ladder.

It was the Tigers’ 20th straight win on the MCG.

By contrast, Essendon’s season will be officially over if Melbourne and Port Adelaide win.

Matthew Lloyd said he thinks the Tigers are still tuning up.

“I think they’ve got another few gears to go to,” Lloydy said

Click PLAY for the full-time wrap

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HALF TIME

Richmond hold a slim eight-point lead at the long break.

Matthew Lloyd said it looks like Brendon Goddard is playing “with a lot on his mind”.

“He’s desperate to go on, he keeps talking about it in the media,” Lloydy said.

“I think it’s not helping anybody.”

Tony Shaw said there’s a bit of a young Nathan Buckley in Goddard.

“He wants perfection from his teammates,” Shawry said.

“You don’t get that all the time.”

Click PLAY for the half-time wrap

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THREE INJURED BOMBERS GET UP

Three Bombers are playing tonight despite suffering injuries last week.

Adam Saad (concussion), Brendon Goddard (knee), and Cale Hooker (knee) all missed large parts of last week’s clash with St Kilda, but all got up for tonight’s match.

Essendon assistant coach Mark Harvey told 3AW Football they’ve had light weeks on the training track.

“It’s a credit to their preparation – particularly Hooker and Goddard, who are getting on in their careers – to be able to still be available at this time of year,” he said.

Click PLAY for the full interview

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TOM ELLIOTT BLASTS POLITICAL STATEMENT

Bachar Houli and Adam Saad will make a statement before tonight’s match.

The footballers, who are both Muslim, are expected to meet in the middle of the ground before the game in response to Senator Fraser Anning’s speech about stopping immigration.

Tom Elliott slammed the move as “pointless virtue-signalling”.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY

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THE BUILD-UP

Essendon’s season is all but over.

They probably need to win their last two, but even that might not be enough.

To top it off, the Dons face the toughest test in the game on Friday night.

But the Tigers are missing a host of players, with the likes of Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert, David Astbury, and Dion Prestia all missing from last week’s team.

Can the Dons spring a massive upset and keep the flickering flame of their season alive?

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