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The Richmond Tigers have begun their surge towards a second consecutive premiership with a comprehensive victory over the Hawthorn Hawks at the MCG in the first qualifying final.
The highlight of the evening was an incredible goal kicked by Dustin Martin in the second term which might well have won goal of the year had it occured in the home-and-away season.
Much was made of a supposed master plan being devised by Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson to combat the seemingly unbeatable Tigers and if Thursday night’s effort was anything to go by, that plan may not even exist.
The Tigers were dominant, despite the Hawks bringing some real enthusiasm to the contest in the first two quarters and managing to stay within arms reach of the champions.
The second half became something of a familiar story for the Hawks and the rest of the competition, as Hawthorn fell victim to the sustained pressure that has broken the back of many a team after team over the last 18 months.
The results over the remainder of the weekend will determine the next opponent for the Hawks and they deserve another shot after their wonderful second half of the season – yet one must pose the obvious questions.
Is advancing further and facing the might of the Tigers later in September a fruitless exercise? Is there a team in the finals that could seriously challenge the yellow and black?
For now there’s nothing to say but well played, Richmond.