Dustin Martin celebrates a goal during the round nine clash between Richmond and Geelong at the MCG on May 12, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

DUSTIN Martin was back to haunt Geelong as Richmond lit up the MCG, posting a 24-point victory and looking like the Tigers of old.

In Friday's night's upset victory, 16.6 (102) to 11.12 (78), it was Richmond's old guard who made the impact up forward as Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt combined for nine goals.

The home side set the stage early, kicking six-straight goals to register their best opening quarter of the season and take a 17-point lead into the first break, and they simply did not let up.

TIGERS v CATS Full match coverage and stats

Richmond was deadly on the turnover at half-back. Running hard and in waves, its handball game and workrate through the corridor slipped any attempts of Geelong pressure and often resulted in the hands of a lone Tiger inside 50.


Despite being without captain Patrick Dangerfield, the Cats were dominant at stoppages early, leading the clearance count by 16 at half-time and ending up plus-17 in the metric.

Mitch Duncan (25 disposals, five clearances) and Tom Atkins (24 disposals, six clearances) were instrumental in this respect, while Atkins also worked to minimise the impact of Shai Bolton at the contest.


The problem, however, was once the ball got to the outside. Richmond was aggressive at the loose ball and mounted on the pressure to force poor disposal from the reigning premiers.

Tim Taranto was strong at the footy with 28 disposals (13 contested) and 12 tackles, while Jayden Short's 714 metres gained from 26 disposals was vital to his side's game.

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The Tigers were playing into the Cats’ hands when going long and high into attack, but when they were able to make it a little messy and move the ball along the ground it had the Cats' intercepting defence beaten.


As a result, Jack Riewoldt and Ben Miller's task inside 50 simply became to compete with Esava Ratugolea and Tom Stewart in the air and break even, the smalls did the rest.

Geelong was dysfunctional in the forward half, which was not only reflected in the scoreline but also its haphazard delivery inside 50. Too often the Cats gave Richmond the upper hand with poor decision making or poor execution.


Jeremy Cameron was forced high up the ground to influence the game, but when the ball was won, his presence was sorely missed as the target in attack as Richmond maintained its structure behind the ball to outnumber Tom Hawkins.

Hawkins' strength against Noah Balta was a fruitful avenue early, but the Tigers locked down in their back half and forced Geelong's entries shallow or wide. Balta's strength came to the fore, while Liam Baker's ground-level pressure was immense, registering four tackles and 21 disposals for the game.


Prestia gets the first, and last laugh
With all the talk during the week about stand-in Geelong captain Tom Stewart's crude hit on Dion Prestia in the teams' meeting last year, the latter started exceptionally well in his 200th career game. Out of the blocks, the Tigers had three quick goals, the third of which was off the boot of Prestia himself as he broke free of congestion outside 50, threw the ball on is boot and watched it bounce through the sticks.


On their terms
Coming into the game far from favourites to win, the Tigers made the game their own by making it messy and unpredictable. Geelong, typically a neat, skilful team that moves downfield by foot, simply couldn't settle into the match as Richmond used one percenters and pressure to its advantage. A style of play born out of workrate; the Tigers were all-in for the full four quarters.

Jack Graham tackles Tom Stewart during the round nine clash between Richmond and Geelong at the MCG on May 12, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Tigers on target
It took Richmond eight attempts on goal to register a behind, putting scoreboard pressure on the Cats by way of their incredible accuracy early in the game. Geelong, on the other hand, peppered the goals but struggled to make their shots count. By half-time the Tigers, despite registering five fewer scoring shots, were 10-points ahead, with the Cats' failure to capitalise hurting them in the end.


RICHMOND                 6.0     8.3     11.5   16.6 (102)
GEELONG                    2.7    5.11    7.11   11.12 (78)

Richmond: Martin 4, Cotchin 3, Mansell 2, Riewoldt 2, Graham, Rioli, Prestia, Bolton, Clarke
Geelong: Hawkins 3, Henry 2, Smith, Simpson, Duncan, Cameron, Bruhn, Blicavs

Richmond: Short, Rioli, Taranto, Balta, Martin, Baker
Geelong: Miers, Atkins, Duncan, Stewart, Cameron

Richmond: Rioli (left ankle), Hopper (left calf)
Geelong: Nil

Richmond: Judson Clarke (replaced Jacob Hopper in the third quarter)
Geelong: Jhye Clark (replaced Oliver Dempsey in the third quarter)

Crowd: 58,141 at the MCG