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Five talking points: Richmond v Geelong

Highlights: Richmond v Geelong The Tigers and Cats clash in round five

1. Tomahawk's big impact
The Cats went shopping last trade period for some tall firepower to help ease the load on Tom Hawkins. They lured Mitch Clark out of retirement from Melbourne, and traded pick No.21 to secure Rhys Stanley (and pick No.60) from St Kilda. But both were missing against the Tigers, with Clark (foot) and Stanley (soreness) not passed fit for the clash. It left Hawkins to be manned by David Astbury, while Alex Rance stood second option Josh Walker. Things started well for Hawkins – he kicked two goals in the opening 10 minutes and looked in imposing form. After quarter-time Rance went to the Cats star, but Hawkins kicked his third goal in the second term during Geelong's late blitz before half-time. The big Cat ended the day with 3.2 and as the most influential forward on the ground in Geelong's nine-point win.

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2. Young Tigers get a shot
Richmond decided to add some fresh blood to its line-up after last week's loss to Melbourne, including talented youngsters Ben Lennon and Corey Ellis. It was Ellis' debut, having been selection 12 at last year's NAB AFL Draft and came after a best-on-ground VFL showing last week. Lennon was the Tigers' first pick at the draft the year before Ellis (also No.12), but was made to earn his first game of the season (and eighth of his career). Ellis kicked a goal in the last term on Saturday and looked composed with his 13 disposals. Lennon had a tough task across half-forward, trying to stay involved creatively while attempting to keep opponent Harry Taylor out of the action. He was subbed out in the third quarter, but should be persisted with.  

 

3. Johnson's bizarre day
It's been a strange season so far for Steve Johnson, epitomised last week by his selection as substitute last week against North. On Saturday facing the Tigers he had his fair share of odd moments, with five turnovers in the first 40 minutes of play. He gave away a free kick for an unnecessary wrestle with Trent Cotchin, and when it looked like he was free to run into an open goal, the Melbourne sunshine obstructed his view of the ball and the all-but-certain major was messed up. The 31-year-old is renowned for his sometimes crazily creative footy brain, but has struggled to hit top gear and find the balance so far this season. That being said, he did collect 19 disposals, kicked a goal and helped to set up a couple of others for the Cats.   

4. Hardwick's future assured
Damien Hardwick's sixth season as coach of Richmond has gotten off to an underwhelming start at 2-3 after five rounds, and his future was the topic of some discussion after last week's disappointing defeat to Melbourne. But, according to Tigers chief executive Brendon Gale, Hardwick, who is contracted until the end of 2016, has nothing to worry about. Speaking to SEN before Saturday's clash with the Cats, Gale said speculation around Hardwick's position was "bullsh*t". That might settle some of the debate for a little while, but the Tigers will be keen to return to the form that saw them win nine games in a row in the second half of last season and clinch a finals spot. That still looks a way off, although they did show good spirit to fight back from a 32-point deficit 10 minutes into the last term and almost snatch the win over the Cats. 

 

5. False alarm
With play about to restart after the half-time break, and players in position, the MCG's siren rang over the PA system. Patrons at the ground were told to evacuate in an orderly manner, and the crowds around the ground left their seats and headed for the exits. As they did, the umpires out on the ground weren't sure whether to start play or not but did so anyway. With the ball mid-air after the first bounce of the third term, an announcement was made to the ground that it was a false alarm. The MCG clarified later on that the emergency warning system was activated by a football hitting a sprinkler on the level B1 concourse of the Ponsford Stand. But it says something about the invasive nature of some clubs' match-day experience concepts this year that it was easy to mistake the MCG's alarm as simply a new attempt from the home team to get fans engaged.