A piece I wrote for the AFL Record 2020 Richmond premiership commemorative edition.
5 minutes – Gary Ablett Jr dislocates his shoulder and comes from the ground. Nick Vlaustin is taken off on the medical cart after he was knocked out by an errant Patrick Dangerfield forearm in the same piece of play. A chaotic start to this match where both sides are scoreless.
18 minutes – Cats have the dominance early and are peppering the goals without reward. A Dangerfield behind follows Tom Hawkins’ mark and failed conversion that provided the first score of the game. A strapped up Ablett returns to the bench for Geelong.
19 minutes – Sam Menegola’s clearing kick finds its way into the arms of Jayden Short, who takes Richmond’s first mark of the match and promptly pumps the footy back inside 50. Shai Bolton creates a contest that brings the ball to ground where a neat toe poke from Shane Edwards allows Daniel Rioli to swoop and handball to Jack Graham who finds Dion Prestia for the first goal of the game.
22 minutes – Richmond up the ante, increasing their trademark pressure around the contest to create a turnover on the wing. Martin pierces a kick inside the centre square to the run of Liam Baker, who finds Kamdyn McIntosh on the edge of the 50. The man who missed last year’s Grand Final takes the footy in his stride and slots the Tigers’ second.
25 minutes – Geelong go the length of the ground from a kick out, with the battered Brandon Parfitt spotting an unmarked Cam Guthrie just inside forward 50. The injuries continue with Nathan Broad coming from the ground as Guthrie goes back and slots the first for the Cats from their third set shot of the match.
33 minutes – Rhys Stanley intercepts in the middle of the ground and finds Menegola who pumps it long to Duncan. The 2011 Premiership player converts from a tough angle to give the Cats the lead with just seconds to play in the first term.
4 minutes – Tigers captain Trent Cotchin gives away an elementary free kick in a marking contest with Dangerfield as the Cats continue to bring the heat and dominate possession. A great first five minutes of this second term for Geelong as Dangerfield kicks truly from a tight angle, increasing his side’s lead to seven points.
8 minutes – Geelong continue to control the ball with play almost exclusively in their forward half. They continue to increase their lead by points only, leaving the door ajar for Richmond. Nine to two inside 50s this term so far.
16 minutes – The Cats finally breakthrough for another major and increase their lead to 16 points. Sam Menegola marks uncontested inside 50 and converts as Richmond’s defence appears in disarray, unable to deal with Geelong’s pressure.
19 minutes – In his final match, the little master Gary Ablett turns back the clock, collecting the ball from a stoppage and dishing off a quick handball to a running Selwood who finds Hawkins on the lead. The Coleman Medallist kicks his first for the night and the fifth in a row for the Cats as the lead balloons out to 22 points.
21 minutes – Shai Bolton can’t take advantage of a rare Cats defensive mistake as he misses to the right from a set shot on the edge of the 50-metre arc. Richmond record their first score of the quarter but it’s not the major they crave.
24 minutes – Cometh the moment, cometh the man. Dustin Martin roves a Tigers forward 50 foray, issues a trademark don’t argue and snaps around the body from 15 metres out to restore some hope and reduce the margin to 15 points. The momentum has swung the way of the yellow and black and they have finally capitalised on the scoreboard.
2 minutes – Damien Hardwick and the Tigers could not have asked for a better start to the second half as Jack Riewoldt receives a free kick directly in front of goal and makes no mistake. The Cats have yet to venture inside 50 this term.
3 minutes – Toby Nankervis gives away a free kick at the centre bounce but follows up to force a Cam Guthrie turnover that eventually results in a Jack Graham set shot. He misses but the increase in Richmond’s tackling pressure is clear and Geelong are struggling to deal with it.
5 minutes – The Cats just can’t clear their defensive half and find relief, with the Tigers intensity resulting in silly turnovers. Jake Kolodjashnij takes a strong mark on the half forward flank but kicks it directly to the chest of Kane Lambert. The two-time premiership Tiger found Liam Baker who delivers it to Jason Castagna on the edge of the 50-metre arc. Goalless in last year’s Grand Final, Castagna’s shallow kick carries the distance to take Richmond within three points.
8 minutes – Geelong hit back against the run of play to extend their lead. Mitch Duncan boots the ball to the wing from a defensive stoppage where Luke Dalhaus swoops and combines with Hawkins and Ablett to eventually find Gryan Miers cruising out the back, who drills it low and hard through the sticks for his first goal of the night.
17 minutes – Within three points again after a Lambert major, Martin puts the Tigers ahead for the first time since the first term with another roving snap from 40 metres out. Four goals to one in the quarter for the reigning premiers as they head into the final break with all the momentum.
1 minute – Much like the start to the third term, the Tigers had an impeccable beginning to the final quarter. An unconvincing Geelong defensive 50 exit allowed a Tigers re-entry through Jack Graham, whose wobbling ball bounced away from Castagna into the path of Lambert, who fed it out to a goal bound Dion Prestia. Six of the last seven goals to the Tigers takes the lead out to eight points.
9 minutes – Shai Bolton continued his outstanding night, marking and then evading two Cats to find Tom Lynch in the goal square. A quiet night for the Tigers spearhead but he escaped Harry Taylor’s clutches to mark and kick truly. Richmond’s lead is out to 15 points – their largest of the match.
14 minutes – Dustin Martin does as Dustin Martin does. Noah Balta intercepts at half back and sends it long where Martin roves the pack once again and sends a bouncing ball all the way from the 50-metre arc through the goals for his third of the match. The two-time Norm Smith Medallist has all but sealed a third.
15 minutes – Geelong go forward from the centre bounce where Sam Menegola takes a courageous contested grab, knocking out teammate Sam Simpson in the process. Play is stopped for eight minutes as Simpson is carted from the ground before Menegola slots the goal from 50 metres out to give the Cats a glimmer of hope.
32 minutes – Jack Riewoldt kicks his second goal of the night with a huge set shot from tight on the boundary line, sending Richmond fans into raptures. It’s well and truly party time for the Tigers now with just two minutes remaining.
34 minutes – The goal of the night. Tucked in the pocket, Dustin Martin swoops on the footy, shrugs the Dangerfield tackle and snaps accurately for his fourth of the night. That’s the Norm Smith Medal locked up and the Tigers are premiers once again.