Richmond vs Hawthorn: Hawks spoil Dusty party to continue shock finals push ...

State of Origin Game 3: CURSE BROKEN- Suncorp silenced as Madge’s NSW Blues ...
Published Time: 15.06.2024 - 09:39:52 Modified Time: 15.06.2024 - 09:39:52

Hawthorn spearhead Mabior Chol booted four majors, while captain James Sicily had 31 disposals and 13 marks. Richmond vs Hawthorn, dustin martin, richmond

In one of the bigger opening quarters the league has seen this year, Tim Taranto went ballistic in the first term for his 12 disposals, four rebound 50s, three marks, three clearances and a goal – setting the tone very early for the Tigers in just his second game back from injury.

Another eight touches in the second quarter took him to a game-high 20 disposals, with six clearances and six score involvements to accompany his stat line.

Unfortunately though, his __ contested possessions at full time weren’t enough to push Dusty and co across the line as the Hawks continued their impressive run of form.

Speaking to Fox Footy at half-time, Hawthorn young gun Will Day briefly chatted to St Kilda great Nick Dal Santo on how the match had played out in the first half.

“It hasn’t been the way we’ve wanted to play, but we’ve managed to get in front and that’s all that matters at this stage … the pressure’s been high,” Day said.

“We know that they want to pop really quick from long plays, so once we take it inside 50 we can’t lay off – we need to be up and on their players straight away.”

Day, while not playing a huge game statistically, broke away through congestion and found himself a useful part of link ups going forward.

Defenders James Sicily, Josh Weddle and Jack Scrimshaw were impactful coming from the defensive half, while Massimo D’Ambrosio continued his great run of form on the wing this season with 23 disposals.

Hawthorn ended up far more efficient going inside 50 than the Tigers, and crucially doubled Richmond’s centre clearance count.

No one could’ve written the script any better than Dusty did to kick off what could well be his last milestone game.

As the Tigers dispersed from their final huddle, the future AFL legend strutted down to the top of Richmond’s attacking goalsquare – lining up early for a spicy one-on-one with Hawks captain James Sicily.

Incredibly – and almost unsurprisingly – it took the 300-gamer only four minutes and 37 seconds to send the 92,311 at the MCG into hysterics on Saturday evening with a launching shot on goal from outside the 50 metre arc.

His dead-eye accuracy subsequently drew first blood for Richmond, kicking off a game they headed into as considerable underdogs – despite the occasion heavily swayed in their favour.

“Dustin Martin of course kicks the opener! It could only be one man,” Fox Footy commentator Mark Howard said.

“What a star this man is – who writes his scripts?!”

From there on in, ‘Dusty’ was relatively quiet for the rest of the first term, notching up just two disposals up forward.

In the second term, he injected himself into the midfield with some more noticeable impact – accumulating six disposals and a clearance.

Speaking at half time on Fox Footy, long-time former teammate Jack Riewoldt spoke briefly on the sense of occasion that came for his good mate Dustin.

“He’s very excited today, hoping for a win – but 300 games is an important milestone for the football club, important milestone for Dustin, and an important milestone for everyone in the crowd to come and say thank you,” Riewoldt noted.

“It was like someone had kicked their first goal, every single player got there – you could see the smile on the Tigers boys’ faces, they really enjoyed that moment.”

Martin’s individual output was in the end smaller than some may have initially anticipated, finishing with his first term goal and __ disposals.

Above all else though, no one in the modern era has brought as many through the gates for a milestone match like Dusty did today, with the experience a truly special one for so many fans wanting to say thank you to a player that has brought them so much excitement and jubilation for close to 15 years now.

In the build-up to Saturday evening, Sam Mitchell’s side had so little media attention that ironically, the pressure was on them; almost a case of whether or not they could handle the big occasion that was bestowed upon them by no choice of their own.

But stand up the did, getting on a real hot run in the second half of the third quarter to sinking the hearts of tens of thousands of Richmond fans at the MCG on Saturday evening.

Their five unanswered goals in the premiership quarter left Richmond stunned, and prevented any realistic chance of a miracle Tigers comeback in Martin’s milestone game.

Key forward Mabior Chol was ultra-efficient, kicking four goals from his first five disposals to hold down the forward fort in Mitch Lewis’ continued absence.

Young forwards Calsher Dear and Cam McKenzie also kicking two of their own to make sure that Richmond paid dearly on turnover and when unable to stop kicks inside the Hawks’ forward 50.

Collingwood great and former coach Nathan Buckley applauded Hawthorn’s first half on Fox Footy’s coverage, in particular that of their younger players.

“The Hawthorn fans will be enjoying what they’re seeing, their pressure’s been excellent – we saw this (from Jack) Scrimshaw early, (Blake) Hardwick, CJ (Changkuoth Jiath),” Buckley said.

“The young Hawthorn players – I think they’re buying into this system together and they’re putting great pressure on the opposition.”

Ultimately running away with the four points, it took a lot to impress Mitchell at the main break despite their 19-point lead.

“I didn’t like that much of the (first half) actually, I thought they (Richmond) were probably unlucky to not be in front on the scoreboard – I thought we made the most of some of our chances, but being out to lock it in our front half has been trouble; so that’s something we’re going to focus on,” Mitchell explained to Fox Footy’s Nick Dal Santo at half time.

“Cohesion is a word that comes to mind when you think of the Hawthorn team at the moment – they just look like they have got a cohesive group that have great relationships between all aspects of their team, they’ve got a great defence and great stoppage game going at the moment,” Riewoldt said on the cusp of three-quarter time.

Small forward Nick Watson finished the match with one goal and four behinds, including multiple scoring chances that came from hotly debated head-high free kicks.

There were no late changes for either side, with Kane McAuliffe (Richmond) and Luke Breust (Hawthorn) named the subs.