RICHMOND has roared into its first AFL Grand Final since 1982, storming to a 36-point preliminary final win over Greater WesternWeste Sydney.
But TigersTig captain Trent Cotchin facesfac a nervous wait for the match review panel’s assessment of his first-quarter hit on Dylan Shiel.
Cotchin, left, led the dressing room celebrations with Dustin Martin and Jack Riewoldt.
A COACH plays arguably the game’s best onballer at full-forward, and a strong mark in the pocket followed by a beautiful snap from a difficult angle in the shadows of three-quarter time puts his team into the Grand Final.
A free kick for grappling and he scored another. A third at the start of the fourth was just too easy.
Unfortunately for Chris Scott, we’re talking about Dustin Martin, not Patrick Dangerfield.
It took a while for the cream to rise to the top at the MCG yesterday, but it did rise, and it will be bubbling in a fury at the same venue next Saturday.
Tomorrow night Martin is a short-priced favourite to claim the Brownlow Medal.
He’d be the favourite for the Norm Smith too, after another scintillating finals display.
But his thoughts after the game immediately crossed to New Zealand.
“I wish you were here tonight, I know you’re watching, I love ya,” he said on TV to his dad Shane.
The Tigers started brightly and Martin had a hand in it. Two, actually.
When Trent Cotchin won a free kick and banged it forward to a pack, Martin was front and square, grabbing it and putting his foot down before handballing to Kane Lambert.
Martin helped with the second score too. Two handballs, two score involvements in the opening minutes.
He started in the middle, always moving, always lurking.
He wasn’t heroic in the first, but he’s such an impact player.
As a forward he was at his most damaging.
The Giants were cleaner and fast, so fast. Their goals seemed to be scored more easily, in the first half anyway, but after that it was the Tigers who burned up the turf at the MCG.
Martin was dancing on the wing. He bobbed and bopped, waltzing forward to set up the Jacob Townsend goal that gave the Tigers a two-goal lead in the third term.
Stephen Coniglio went to Martin, so did Zac Williams. When Martin was forward, it was Heath Shaw.
Like in a velodrome, Martin kept looking back at the veteran, teasing him as to when he was going to make his move.
Shaw was outfoxed and sweated out, and when they grappled in the goal square the Brownlow favourite was given a free and kicked his second to cement the game.
Alex Rance again was a strength down back and skipper Trent Cotchin, who will come under scrutiny for a hit that concussed Dylan Shiel, was formidable.
Jason Castagna, one of the Tigers’ busy fleet of small forwards, was wayward early in front of goal – he missed a sitter in the second and moments later missed another set shot.
Jack Riewoldt didn’t do much either before kicking a goal late, but that simply encapsulates the new Richmond. They’re a good team.
When Martin’s leg got stuck under him in a contest with Shaw in the third term, the whole stadium held its breath and the umpire stopped play.
Martin was down, but not for the count. He rose again – and booted Richmond into the Grand Final.
ARMED AND DANGEROUS: Richmond’s Dustin Martin attempts to break clear from the Giants’ Nick Haynes in their preliminary final at
PRESSURE: Richmond’s Alex Rance.