DUSTIN Martin must get his pen out and put a circle around the Dreamtime clash with Essendon each year.
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Even though this year's contest was very different to every other – shifted from the MCG to TIO Stadium in Darwin due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria – the brilliant Richmond midfielder did what he always does and put the Bombers to the sword.
The two-time Norm Smith medallist and dual premiership star steered the Tigers to a 12-point win over the Bombers in the Top End, amassing 29 disposals, seven clearances, nine score involvements and nine inside-50s in a dominant midfield display.
The Bombers are no strangers to Martin's impact, having seen him average 32 disposals and collect 15 Brownlow Medal votes in his previous six games against Essendon.
TIGERS TAME THE HEAT Full match coverage and stats
Shai Bolton was also excellent with 28 disposals and a goal as the rising Indigenous Tigers star claimed his first Yiooken Award voted as the best afield.
But the Tigers' inefficiency kept the Bombers in the game longer than Richmond coach Damien Hardwick would have liked.
Richmond's inaccuracy was evident in the 10.13 (73) to 10.1 (61) result as they controlled the inside-50 count, restricting Essendon to only nine entries for the first half. The Bombers recorded just 24 entries for the game to Richmond's 66.
In the humid and sweaty Northern Territory conditions the Bombers trailed by 15 points at the final change but kept charging in a more attacking last term.
However, Richmond was able to hold off the fast-finishing Bombers to claim their seventh win in their last nine games as their pursuit of a third flag in four years gathers more momentum.
Mosquito blitzes on debut
It's rare that a first-gamer can win over a crowd so quickly that he has a chant dedicated to him by the opening quarter of his AFL career. But Irving Mosquito was able to do just that as the exciting Bombers small forward kicked a goal in the first quarter against the Tigers. As the talented Indigenous goalkicker's shot sailed through, sections of TIO Stadium broke into a chorus of 'Mossie, Mossie Mossie! Oi, Oi, Oi!'. He didn't stop there, though, with his classy crumb and then shot from the pocket in the second term outdoing even his first goal. The left-footer celebrated that goal before it had even snuck through and he looks set to be the Bombers' next cult hero.
Is Lynch in more strife?
Tom Lynch has been in the spotlight for his aggressive ways this week and could again come under the microscope of the Match Review Officer for his high shove to Essendon defender Michael Hurley in the last quarter. As Lynch went to start a lead for the ball, he collected Hurley in the throat with his arm. Lynch, who kicked two goals in the game and proved a constant threat in attack for the Tigers, is likely to come under scrutiny again for the action.
Rioli lifts for the occasion
Daniel Rioli was dropped after the Tigers' round eight loss to Greater Western Sydney following a quiet run of form from the dual premiership forward. In his third game back in the side Rioli provided one of the moments of Indigenous Round with his goal in the second term. The classy finish was important for the Tigers who hadn't taken their chances, but it was also kicked in front of the Maurice Rioli Stand, named after Rioli's uncle and former Richmond great. The two-time premiership Tiger finished with 16 disposals in one of his most vibrant performances of the season.
ESSENDON 1.1 3.1 6.1 10.1 (61)
RICHMOND 1.5 3.8 5.10 10.13 (73)
Essendon: McDonald-Tipungwuti 2, Mosquito 2, Stewart 2, Clarke, Merrett, Snelling, Stringer
Richmond: Lynch 2, Riewoldt 2, Bolton, Chol, Lambert, Martin, Rioli, Vlastuin
Essendon: Merrett, Smith, Saad, Guelfi, McGrath, Parish
Richmond: Martin, Bolton, Lambert, Graham, Pickett, McIntosh
Essendon: Francis (right hamstring)