So much of last year’s football palace intrigue centred on just how far the AFL would go to change the rules of the game in response to some meta-elements of the game it found unsatisfactory.
Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Richmond have reaffirmed their status as the AFL’s masters of pressure, breaking clear of Collingwood to win by 43 points.
The Tigers kicked half their goals in the last quarter and stayed top with the 16.17 (113) to 10.10 (70) victory on Sunday at the MCG.
The biggest game between these two rivals since the 1980 grand final attracted a crowd of 72,157.
The margin did no justice to the Magpies, who took it right up to the reigning premiers in a pulsating clash.
Tom Phillips was running into an open goal with about 10 minutes left in the last quarter and, had he not slipped, he would have reduced the margin to only 13 points.
But Richmond pounced, racing the ball up the other end for a goal.
That was the start of a four-goal run that blew out the margin and ensured Richmond’s 12th-straight win at the MCG.
The two teams were coming off short breaks after their Anzac clashes and Collingwood, who lost James Aish in the third term to injury, wilted late.
Richmond youngster Jack Higgins snapped a goal near quarter-time and Magpies defender Lynden Dunn cannoned into him as he celebrated.
Higgins was given another shot at goal and he converted, giving the Tigers an eight-point lead at the first break.
Collingwood were matching Richmond’s famed manic pressure and they kept pace with the Tigers through the second term, taking an eight-point lead the main break.
Richmond thought they had a goal late in the second term, but a score review ruled it was touched.
There was some confusion over the incident, given Collingwood defender Lynden Dunn clearly did not touch the ball until it was over the goal line, but there was speculation it was touched off the boot.
Collingwood lost Aish to a knee injury early in the third term, robbing them of a crucial interchange rotation.
But the Magpies kept pressing, taking an eight-point lead, and defender Brayden Maynard even withstood one of Dustin Martin’s trademark “don’t argue” fend-offs.
Maynard limped off in the last term with a sore ankle, but played out the match, while Ben Reid was also injured in the final quarter.
Tigers captain Trent Cotchin was prolific in the third quarter with 10 possessions and slowly his team took control.
Two goals to Josh Caddy gave Richmond an 11-point lead at the last break.
He kicked another at the start of the last term and another two followed for the Tigers, meaning a decisive five-goal run either side of three-quarter time for the reigning premiers.
Collingwood rookie recruit Flynn Appleby, the cousin of golfer Stuart, made his AFL debut as a late replacement for Tom Langdon (managed).
Chris Mayne played his first game for the Magpies since round three last season and worked hard as a defensive forward.
Caddy kicked four, while Jack Riewoldt and Dan Butler booted three each for the Tigers and Cotchin was outstanding, while Collingwood midfielder Adam Treloar backed up from his Anzac Medal with 42 possessions.