Richmond's new era under coach Adem Yze has started off on the right foot after getting the better of Melbourne in their first full-game practice match of the pre-season.

Across the opening four periods of a seven-term session, the Tigers flexed their muscles without a large contingent of star players - with all of Dion Prestia (hamstring), Dustin Martin (managed), Tim Taranto (managed), Liam Baker (family reason), Toby Nankervis (managed) and Dylan Grimes (managed) not featuring.

Richmond's new-look forward line in the absence of spearhead Tom Lynch proved to be potent against a premiership Demons defence, with defender-turned-forward Noah Balta booting three goals while partnering with recruit Jacob Koschitzke, who came away with two goals in his maiden outing in the yellow and black.

Front-half livewire Shai Bolton was among the Tigers' best, kicking four majors as a key piece in many of the Tigers' scoring plays while spending some time in midfield. Bolton is expected to spend a large portion of the coming season in the forward line under Yze, however the All-Australian might have given his new coach something to consider with his pressure and link-up play in the middle.

Yze also looks to have found a new batch of small forwards to aid his undermanned attacking unit, with second-year forward Steely Green coming away with two goals while Tasmanian Seth Campbell was also full of promise between midfield and the forward 50 to come away with a goal.

Richmond's Noah Balta during the Tigers' pre-season clash with Melbourne, 2024 (image via Richmond FC)

Midfielder Tyler Sonsie booted multiple majors and looks ready to press his case for a return to the senior side once he's served the final two games of a suspension that was handed down late into last year's VFL season.

Richmond booted ten unanswered goals across the opening half before a set shot from Max Gawn late into the second term snapped the Demons' cold run, with the Demons skipper on limited minutes at Sunday's hitout and not seen after the second term.

Gawn's right-hand man Jack Viney was the standout for the Demons with his workhorse effort and grunt in the middle of the field, while Christian Petracca was lively early with two opening-term goals.

Young key forward Jacob van Rooyen proved to be a headache for Richmond defenders as an unstoppable presence in the air, however the former first-round pick could only come away with a single major.

Father-son selection Kynan Brown was a shining light for the Demons in his first stint in the red and blue, slotting a difficult goal on the boundary in the early term before assisting Petracca's second.

The small-framed midfield did his selection stocks no harm, however he finds himself some way back in the pecking order in Simon Goodwin's squad given the number of outs Melbourne were forced to deal with.

Brown was one of four Demons to boot two goals for the morning, with Bayley Fritsch, Petracca and Kysaiah Pickett also leading on the scoreboard for the Redlegs.

Melbourne Demons player Kynan Brown during the 2024 pre-season (image via Melbourne FC)

Pickett was energetic when thrown into the midfield mix to support the likes of Viney and Tom Sparrow, with young ruckman Will Verrall getting a good look against senior opposition and would even boot a goal after replacing Gawn.

Young midfield-forward Bailey Laurie has only strengthened his case for a spot on the place for the Demons' Opening Round trip to Sydney, while top ten draft selection Caleb Windsor also had a number of promising glimpses and had no issue finding the ball on the wing.

On the injury front, Richmond's Rhyan Mansell had his ankle iced after picking up an injury in the opening term, souring a strong pre-season to date for the small forward.

Tigers defender Josh Gibcus got through the practice match unscathed and even had an early highlight with a strong intercept mark on the first play of the day.

Both sides will bank on VFL-listed players for the final three terms of the contest.

A story for the second half of the matchplay session will be Richmond's two Supplemental Selection Period hopefuls Mykelti Lefau and Mitch Schofield.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27: Mykelti Lefau of the Tigers in action during the round one VFL match between the Richmond Tigers and Southport at The Swinburne Centre on March 27, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Lefau joined the proceedings for the fourth term, having an instant impact with a goal and also flooring Jake Lever with a strong bump that led to Bolton's fourth goal.

The Tigers won the opening four quarters 18.9.117 to 14.10.94.

Melbourne pair Clayton Oliver and Christian Salem will get a strong run of match simulation minutes in the final three periods after interrupted pre-seasons, with the former taking no time to get on the score sheet via a tricky snap from the boundary near the 50m arc.

Oliver was among the top ball winners in the 'fifth term', looking a touch above despite questions over his fitness levels.

The four-time Bluey Truscott Trophy winner was in the hands of medical staff in the second last period after landing heavily from a flighted attempt to take possession, with Oliver assisted from the field and in some pain.

He made his return to the field the same quarter.

Salem spent his time in the midfield and looked comfortable around the ball as he built up his workload after dealing with a hamstring issue this pre-season.


Young Melbourne forward Matthew Jefferson was also taken from the field in the sixth period for a suspected leg injury but eventually returned to play.

Melbourne: Petracca, Fritsch, Pickett, K.Brown 2, van Rooyen, Gawn, Chandler, Verrall, Lever, Schache
Richmond: Bolton 4, Balta 3, Koschitzke, Sonsie, Green 2, Short, M.Rioli, Pickett, Lefau, Campbell

*After first four periods