The Richmond Tigers have won their first premiership since 1980 after a dominant performance against the Adelaide Crows saw them cruise home in the AFL grand final and claim a 108-60 victory.
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» Six talking points from the match
» Richmond Tigers player ratings
» Adelaide Crows player ratings
» Watch video highlights from the match
» Re-live the match with our live blog
With the game in the balance at halftime, Richmond were a class above their opponents in the third quarter, piling on five goals to one to set up their premiership victory.
After Josh Jenkins was unable to convert a set-shot on the siren and the Tigers went into the final break 34 points up, the Crows had to be the first side to score to maintain any chance of claiming their first premiership since 1998.
But it was Richmond who hit the scoreboard first in the final term through Jack Riewoldt, and when Dion Prestia goaled three minutes later, it became clear – if it wasn’t already – that the Punt Road faithful would have a flag to celebrate at fulltime.
Lauded for their manic forward pressure throughout the year – and particularly in the finals – the Tigers didn’t allow Adelaide’s dangerous backline to set up any of the incisive attacks they had built their run to the grand final on.
Denied the space and time to breathe in their defensive 50, the Crows’ trademark runs out of half-back with dangerous changes of angle were noticeable only by their absence.
The Adelaide midfield, so often criticised as a possible Achilles Heel for the minor premiers, was outclassed – with the exception of the excellent Rory Sloane – throughout the game, unable to cope with the outstanding Richmond pressure.
For the Tigers, Bachar Houli was outstanding, kicking a first-quarter goal which gave Richmond their first lead of the match, while fifth-gamer Jack Graham kicked three goals in an impressive performance for such a young player.
Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin was among the best players on the ground – and was officially adjudged so when he was awarded the Norm Smith Medal for the best player afield – with two goals and 28 disposals. Star defender Alex Rance was similarly brilliant despite not making an impact on the stats sheet, keeping the Crows’ dangerous forward line at bay all day.
Earlier in the game, it was Adelaide who started the better of the two sides, nabbing the first two goals of the match through Rory Sloane and Eddie Betts – Sloane from a simple set shot and Betts running into an open goalsquare after Nick Vlaustin fumbled into the star Crow’s path.
Two goals in response from the Tigers were cancelled out by another pair from Adelaide, Sloane and Hugh Greenwood giving the Crows an 11-point lead at quarter time.
But that was as good as it got for Don Pyke’s men, as a goalless second term set the tone for the rest of the match.