Like the 'Tigers of Old', the Richmond Football Club of the current era is one that is seen as a perennial finalist. Having made it to September in all but one of the last seven seasons, the Tigers drew on their now considerable finals experience to outplay the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday night. While the Lions had the home ground advantage, a reward for their top-two finish, it was ultimately no match for Richmond's finals nous, and the Tigers won running away by 47 points.
Not unexpectedly, the young Lions started a little nervously, and it wasn't long before the Tigers had two goals on the board, courtesy of Jack Riewoldt and Dustin Martin, who was charged with a forward role, rather than his usual midfield duty, in this match. Brisbane had had a chance by that stage to kick a goal of their own, but a free kick to Charlie Cameron was overturned as a result of some indiscipline from Eric Hipwood.
The Lions dis settle eventually, but then set about wasting opportunities with disappointing inaccuracy in front of goal. By the time Cameron finally kicked their first goal just as the quarter ticked into time on, they had registered five behinds. Two of those were rushed but the other three were very gettable shots at goal. Cameron's goal did spark a run, though, and Lachie Neale, Daniel McStay and Cam Rayner all found the target during 'red time'. Shane Edwards punctuated those three goals with one for Richmond, and the quarter-time break had the scoreboard reading Brisbane 4.6, Richmond 3.0. The Lions ten-point lead was handy, but it should have been greater, and if it had been, the home side might have ultimately stayed in the contest for longer.
The second term saw Richmond take the early initiative, and a goal to Tom Lynch reduced the margin to three points. The Lions were again tardy in hitting the scoreboard, their first score not coming until the 13-minute mark, and that was only a minor one to Cameron. As the quarter wore on both sides produced scoring opportunities but only Richmond converted theirs. This discrepancy was highlighted by the fact that the Tigers kicked 4.1 for the quarter from five shots inside 30 metres, while Brisbane could manage only 0.4 from the same distance.
At the long break Richmond's lead was eleven points, by no means insurmountable, but the question to be answered was, could the Brisbane Lions stick with the Tigers when they 'dialed up the heat' in the third term. The answer came swiftly. Martin booted his third major within a minute and from there Richmond really began to turn the screws. While Brisbane again found all avenues to goal blocked, the Tigers added four more goals, including a fourth to 'Dusty', and when the quarter ticked in to time on, they were 41 points clear.
With the heat out of the match, the Lions did begin to score from then on, but continued to struggle with accuracy. Richmond did not. After Daniel Rioli kicked the Tigers' fourth behind at the 10-minute mark of the third term, Richmond did not miss again. Their final score was a remarkable 18.4, which only served to make the Lions' score of 8.17 look even worse than it already did.
Of course the accuracy discrepancy does not tell the full story of the match, but Brisbane's profligacy certainly cost them any slim hop of victory. But the Lions live to fight another day, and they have now started the process of accumulating their own finals experience on which they can draw. They will be looking to use that, and some better kicking for goal, as they aim to defeat GWS at the Gabba on Saturday.
Richmond will watch on from the sidelines, having earned a week off. When they won the premiership in 2017, the Tigers did so without Martin having added the string of being able to play a full match as a forward to his bow. Or at least it was a a string rarely used. Martin's ability to be potent in the middle or up forward provide Richmond with further flexibility, which could prove very useful if they are challenged in this year's Preliminary Final as they were by Collingwood in last year's.
That added flexibility might be just what they need to win a second flag in three years and not be seen as merely perennial finalists, but regular premiers.
Brisbane: Neale, Christensen 2; Cameron, McStay, Rayner, McCluggage
Richmond: Martin 6; Riewoldt 3; Rioli, Lynch, Caddy 2; Edwards, Bolton, Castagna
BEST - AFL.COM.AU
Brisbane: Hodge, Zorko, Neale, Robinson, Gardine
Richmond: Martin, Edwards, Grimes, Prestia, Cotchin, Rioli
BEST - BRISBANE TIMES
Brisbane: Hodge, Neale, Zorko, Robinson, McCluggage, Martin
Richmond: D. Martin, Edwards, Prestia, Grimes, Lambert, Lynch
Brisbane: Robinson (hamstring)
UMPIRES: Donlon, Nicholls, Fleer
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Seven Network
COMMENTATORS: Luke Darcy, James Brayshaw, Jobe Watson, Matthew Richardson
|24||Adams, Marcus||6||2||1||7||0||0||0||1||1||2||26y 69d||36||4|
|31||Andrews, Harris||4||2||4||8||0||0||0||4||1||2||22y 270d||96||9|
|43||Answerth, Noah||6||4||2||8||0||0||0||2||0||0||20y 32d||18||2|
|33||Bailey, Zac||7||1||6||13||0||0||0||1||0||1||19y 349d||26||11|
|7||Berry, Jarrod||15||8||6||21||0||2||0||3||2||0||21y 214d||56||26|
|23||Cameron, Charlie||5||2||2||7||1||2||0||0||1||0||25y 64d||107||159|
|3||Christensen, Allen||13||7||3||16||2||0||0||3||1||2||28y 111d||132||113|
|27||Gardiner, Darcy||14||6||4||18||0||0||0||0||1||2||23y 350d||105||5|
|30||Hipwood, Eric||4||4||3||7||0||0||0||2||0||1||21y 359d||74||110|
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|11||McCarthy, Lincoln||10||6||6||16||0||1||0||5||1||3||25y 320d||52||45|
|6||McCluggage, Hugh||11||5||12||23||1||1||0||2||2||1||21y 188d||62||41|
|46||McInerney, Oscar||3||1||4||7||0||1||15||4||1||1||25y 59d||36||24|
|25||McStay, Daniel||5||5||1||6||1||1||0||2||0||0||24y 75d||102||73|
|9||Neale, Lachie||17||5||20||37||2||0||0||1||1||0||26y 106d||158||79|
|16||Rayner, Cam||8||5||7||15||1||1||0||3||0||0||19y 321d||45||39|
|10||Rich, Daniel||10||3||7||17||0||0||0||1||2||1||29y 92d||206||106|
|5||Robinson, Mitch||19||7||3||22||0||3||0||2||2||0||30y 92d||191||108|
|29||Witherden, Alex||12||5||5||17||0||0||0||1||0||1||20y 362d||52||5|
|15||Zorko, Dayne||16||3||5||21||0||3||0||8||2||1||30y 210d||167||183|
|12||Astbury, David||8||7||6||14||0||0||0||2||1||1||28y 193d||127||9|
|48||Baker, Liam||6||2||10||16||0||0||0||1||1||0||21y 223d||20||9|
|29||Bolton, Shai||6||2||7||13||1||0||0||4||1||3||20y 273d||26||18|
|35||Broad, Nathan||2||1||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||26y 145d||52||1|
|22||Caddy, Josh||9||2||5||14||2||0||0||2||1||0||26y 344d||155||160|
|11||Castagna, Jason||10||4||4||14||1||0||0||3||0||0||23y 57d||74||79|
|9||Cotchin, Trent||12||2||7||19||0||1||0||2||2||1||29y 153d||232||125|
|10||Edwards, Shane||13||6||16||29||1||0||0||6||2||1||30y 317d||253||161|
|5||Ellis, Brandon||11||4||6||17||0||0||0||3||0||1||26y 35d||174||58|
|34||Graham, Jack||7||1||7||14||0||0||0||8||1||3||21y 194d||38||19|
|2||Grimes, Dylan||7||6||5||12||0||0||0||1||1||1||28y 53d||149||3|
|14||Houli, Bachar||8||3||7||15||0||0||0||1||0||1||31y 118d||205||42|
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|3||Prestia, Dion||15||2||17||32||0||0||0||10||1||1||26y 330d||153||49|
|8||Riewoldt, Jack||6||1||0||6||3||0||0||4||3||1||30y 311d||260||626|
|17||Rioli, Daniel||6||0||1||7||2||1||0||6||2||0||22y 144d||75||67|
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|1||Vlastuin, Nick||14||3||4||18||0||0||0||4||1||1||25y 141d||139||26|