THE LAST time Richmond played at the Gabba it won a premiership, but on Friday night it was opponent Brisbane announcing itself as a flag fancy with a commanding 28-point win.
The Lions overcame a slow start and some nerves in front of goal to eventually overpower an undermanned premier in front of a near sold-out Gabba.
With four goals apiece to Eric Hipwood and Zac Bailey the home team won its sixth straight game 15.12 (102) to 11.8 (74) to solidify its spot in the top four.
It wasn't easy going though.
With Jack Riewoldt off to a hot start and kicking three first-quarter goals, the Tigers led by 19 points at one stage and eight at the first change.
The Lions gained ascendancy during the second quarter, getting on top against the second-string Richmond midfield but missing a plethora of chances in front of goal.
Hugh McCluggage was sublime in the opening half, gathering 18 disposals and being involved in seven scoring chains to initially wrestle momentum back and ultimately put the wind in Brisbane's sails.
LIONS v TIGERS Full match coverage and stats
After the main break McCluggage (27) had help from everywhere, with Jarryd Lyons (26 and eight clearances) continuing his terrific run in the absence of Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale and captain Dayne Zorko (28) also prominent.
Rhys Mathieson and Deven Robertson were strong around the contest while Bailey bobbed up at crucial times to assert his influence.
Without front-liners Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, Dion Prestia, Shai Bolton and Kane Lambert, the Tigers struggled at the coalface and lost the clearance count 51-25, but never gave up.
Noah Balta won his battle with Joe Daniher, while Bachar Houli gave plenty of drive from defence in the second half.
Robbo not falling for Dusty's 'don't argue'
Richmond superstar Dustin Martin has made a career of making defenders look foolish with his powerhouse fend-offs – but Mitch Robinson was having none of it. Midway through the second quarter when Martin gathered possession near the middle of the ground, Robinson jumped off both feet and blanketed the star Tiger with a swarming tackle to win a free kick. It was one of three times – along with Deven Robertson and Jarryd Lyons – when Martin was caught for holding the ball.
Baker and Mathieson go at it
Two of the more feisty players in the competition – and certainly the two most antagonistic on the field – went at it during the third quarter. Rhys Mathieson, making a home for himself in Brisbane's midfield after just one game in 2020, took a mark in front of young Tiger Liam Baker. After a verbal exchange between the pair as he walked back to take his set shot, Mathieson drilled the goal from 50m and then got right in Baker's face with a big roar.
Madden the magnificent
With injured defenders Darcy Gardiner (shoulder) and Ryan Lester (hamstring) unavailable, Brisbane had to reshuffle its backline and called on second-game Irishman James Madden to quell the Tigers' fleet of small forwards. The 21-year-old flyer was brilliant for the victors, proactively leaving his opponent to gather seven intercept possessions in the first half alone, included two contested overhead marks. He added the icing in the third term when he sprinted inside 50 to kick his first career goal on the run. The Lions have found one.
BRISBANE 3.5 7.9 11.11 15.12 (102)
RICHMOND 5.1 7.2 8.5 11.8 (74)
Brisbane: Hipwood 4, Bailey 4, Cameron, Coleman, Daniher, Lyons, Madden, Mathieson, Zorko
Richmond: Lynch 3, Riewoldt 3, Aarts 2, Ross 2, Naish
Brisbane: Lyons, McCluggage, Hipwood, Zorko, Robinson, Bailey
Richmond: Balta, Short, Houli, Pickett, Aarts
Brisbane: Tom Berry (unused)
Richmond: Will Martyn (unused)
Reports: Marlion Pickett for striking Brandon Starcevich in the fourth quarter
Crowd: 31,127 at the Gabba