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Kozzy produces on return for Dees, Yze heralds key Tigers' work in Melbourne's big ANZAC Eve win

Jarred Cross -

Kysaiah Pickett produced on return to the Demons to help his side respond from a scrappy start with key Tigers maintaining the fight in a big win for the Demons in front of 72,000 on ANZAC Eve.

After a first half headlined by skill errors, turnovers, physicality and both teams' inability to capitalise on opportunities in their forward fifty, the Dees piled on the goals after the main break to walk away 13.7 (85) - 5.12 (42) winners.

Speaking after the match, Melbourne key defender Steven May, who had an uncharacteristically low six intercept possessions from the game, conceded the contest "wouldn't have been too nice to watch" early on.

"The first half wasn't our best football," he said.

"Luckily, Richmond didn't take their chances…we were happy to regroup and look after the ball a bit better."

Within that, Kysaiah Pickett hit the scoreboard twice as his side worked on building their lead in a one-sided second half.

On return from suspension, the 22-year-old opened his account with an on-brand opportunist effort as a result of front half defence and a snap from the pocket as Melbourne took control.

He backed it up a set shot mid-way through the final term to drive the nail a little deeper into the coffin.

Pickett celebrated the goal with a nod to his partner's pregnancy at home.

Kozzy was also involved in a third quarter controversy.

A wayward snap at goal looked destined to land out of bounds on the full before ricocheting back into play of the boundary umpire's legs.

Although Richmond gained possession from the incident, the following play ended with Caleb Windsor slotting a set shot on the stroke of three quarter time to push the Demons out to a 23-point lead.

For the Tigers, Marlion Pickett had his best performance for some time.

He largely stifled Melbourne mid Christian Petracca's influence with a tight tag and was also busy around the contest with damaging work at ground level and interrupting hands to dull the Dees movement away from traffic to go with his 20 disposals.

He will however sweat on the result of a blow to the midsection of Clayton Oliver late in the opening quarter.

It's highly anticipated the end result will be limited to a fine.

Speaking post match, Richmond coach Adam Yze said the club will wait on the MRO's decision, conceding Pickett can at times show a hint of "white line fever".

"Marlion did a terrific job on on Christian today. He is a tough competitor...if he's gone outside the rules, we'll have to deal with that. But hopefully, it was just a little love tap," Yze said.

"He'd been asking for a couple of weeks to get some inside mid time so we unleashed him today. He was impressive for us. He is going to be important while we've got some troops down - just down to just that level head and that competitive nature.

"We won't be curtailing that (aggression) for sure. We want him to play hard and that's his game."

Shai Bolton was more heavily involved from half time after a quiet start to the night.

He ended the match with a game-high seven inside fifty possessions and a goal from his 18 touches.

Daniel Rioli was solid coming out of their back half, and after looking dangerous before the main break Maurice Rioli ended with two goals in another performance displaying his development.

"He looks powerful. He looks dangerous around goal," Yze said of Maurice Rioli, while commenting on the efforts of younger players getting an opportunity with injury.

Yze agreed the youngster is becoming more involved as he develops into the season.

"His pressure and intensity and work rate is very good. He didn't finish a couple of times today and there'll be opportunities that he's gonna look at and go 'Kozzy Pickett finishes his work', and that's where he's got to get to," Yze said.

Richmond coach Adam Yze said Maurice Rioli is "aspiring to be one of the key small forwards in the comp" after kicking two goals on Wednesday night. (Image: AAP)

"He's aspiring to be one of the key small forwards in the comp and his effort intensity is getting him there and we've just got to give him some opportunity.

"But he is improving every week which is, as I said, as a coach, that's all we can ask."

Pasifka rugby league convert Mykeli Lefau also made some kind statement in a losing effort.

Lefau was big around the marking contest and at times presented at his side's key target up front with Tom Lynch and Noah Balta on the injury list without looking overawed in just his fifth game of top-level footy.


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