Tiger power

Sunday Tasmanian - - Front Page - ELIZA SEWELL

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.

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