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Five talking points: Richmond v Melbourne

Highlights: Richmond v Melbourne The Tigers and Demons clash in round five

1. A Jack of all trades
On a slippery night not in now way suited to high-marking forwards, Jack Riewoldt's influence on the game was remarkable. As the rain teemed down at the MCG early in the game, Riewoldt's two goals in the first quarter were a sight to behold. The star forward's first, a snap off a step on his right boot, was quickly followed by a left-foot curler just as good as his first effort. Riewoldt finished with six goals on the night, including the match-winner in the final quarter, to almost singlehandedly win the match off his own boot. The star Tiger has elevated his own game to a new level this season and it is a more versatile Riewoldt that has become one of the AFL's very best.

WATCH: Masterful Riewoldt leads Tigers comeback

 

2. Dees' ruck cupboard looking bare
Already without Max Gawn for an extended period due to a hamstring injury, losing back-up big man Jake Spencer with a shoulder complaint after half-time was not what Demons fans wanted to see. Spencer hurt the AC joint in his right shoulder in a ground level contest in the first quarter and immediately came off for treatment. The big man fought bravely through the pain, also tweaking his right knee in a separate incident, but did not return to the ground after half-time. Spencer was spotted on the bench with his right arm in a sling, suggesting he could miss a chunk of time with the injury. With Gawn and Spencer possibly both sidelined, the Demons will have to fashion a new-look ruck setup. With young ruckman Mitch King coming back from a long-term knee injury, it is likely the Demons will have to rely on Jack Watts, and Sam Frost, to carry the ruck burden.

Full match coverage and stats

Jake Spencer's shoulder injury is a huge concern for the Demons. Picture: AFL Photos

3. Hibberd does not miss a beat
The Melbourne defender may not have played an AFL game for 604 days, but any rustiness associated with such a lengthy hiatus was quickly dispelled. Hibberd was just about best afield – his courage to backpedal into the unknown and penetrating left boot emphasising why Melbourne was so keen to sign him to a lucrative four-year contract. The former Bomber had 27 disposals and eight rebound 50s. Despite battling an Achilles issue at the start of the season, Hibberd appears to be an astute acquisition for Melbourne.

 

4. Build it and they will come
Melbourne and Richmond have quickly made the Anzac Day eve game their own, and the night time spectacle reached new heights on Monday night. By quarter-time, there was a crowd of more than 83,000 people inside the MCG, already breaking the home and away attendance record between the two teams. By the end of the match, 85,657 people were in the stadium. It was Melbourne's biggest home and away crowd since 1964 and its fourth-highest ever for a regular season game. Over the past three seasons, the Tigers and the Demons have done incredibly well to hone their rivalry but also maintain respect for everything the Anzac occasion stands for. The match itself was a cracker, and perhaps has claims for game of the season.

The packed MCG pays respect to the Anzacs. Picture: AFL Photos

5. Deliberate rushed behind back under the microscope
The deliberate rushed behind rule has been one of the most contentious this season. But it was back under scrutiny when Tiger David Astbury was penalised for fumbling the football over the line in the first quarter. In driving rain, and under pressure from Jesse Hogan, Astbury tapped the ball towards the goal line before fumbling the ball, probably on purpose through the goals. In any event, it was a harsh ruling and gifted a Hogan a shot from the goalsquare which he duly nailed. The rule will no doubt continue to create plenty of debate.