AFTER a week of enormous scrutiny following a fight in a nightclub, Richmond's Daniel Rioli has kicked the match-winner in a thrilling four-point win over Greater Western Sydney.
Giant Tim Taranto had a chance to be the hero, but opted to dribble kick while hard up against the goal-line, which Dylan Grimes desperately rushed through in the last minute of the game.
TIGERS v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
GWS had led by as much as 28 points midway through the third term, driven by a four-goal second quarter from recruit Jesse Hogan and some stunning midfield work by the likes of Jacob Hopper, Taranto, Callan Ward, Tom Green and Lachie Whitfield.
Hogan's game-breaking 10-minute burst left the Tigers on the deck, and there was only ever going to be one man to pull them up. Superstar Dustin Martin broke the run of four straight Giants goals, and followed up with a second seven minutes later.
The Tigers only had one fewer inside 50 to the main break, but such was the Giants' efficiency and aerial dominance in attack, the hosts went into the changerooms 21 points in arrears.
The magnets were flicked around in the second half, with intercept defender Nick Vlastuin starting in the middle and Noah Balta back in his customary key defensive role after a run in the ruck and up forward.
Martin, Liam Baker and youngster Riley Collier-Dawkins were instrumental in dragging the Tigers back into the game, as the previously imperious GWS midfield faltered.
The superstar's fourth goal, kicked just millimetres before the line, got the Tigers rolling in the fourth, before Rioli eventually took the lead.
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Hopper (35 disposals and 11 clearances) was superb for the Giants, while ever-versatile Tiger Baker (33 and eight) shone with a rare stint in the midfield.
Jesse Hogan was an inclusion after missing last week and showed no signs of his ankle complaint, running with freedom and dominating inside 50. Mostly lining up against David Astbury, Hogan kicked an astonishing 3.1 in the space of seven minutes in the second quarter, following up with a fourth in the dying minutes of the same term. It didn't all go Hogan's way, giving away a free kick when Harry Himmelberg was about to have a set shot.
Second-string midfield comes out winners
Without a host of midfield stars – skipper Trent Cotchin, Dion Prestia, Kane Lambert, Shane Edwards and Shai Bolton – it was left to a rag-tag crew to look after centre bounces. Martin was the senior figure in the middle, with the ever-versatile Liam Baker, Marlion Pickett, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Jack Graham, Jake Aarts and even Nick Vlastuin having a run on the ball. Despite Toby Nankervis' ruck dominance, they seriously struggled in the first half before wresting back control as the game progressed.
Emergency goal umpire, activate
A series of extraordinary events halfway through the fourth saw Martin running at full pelt to soccer what eventuated into his fourth goal, just before the goal line and cleaning up the goal umpire in the process. A score review was needed, which reverted to the umpire's call of a goal. The emergency goal umpire subsequently took the original (and very sore) umpire's place for the final few minutes of the game.
RICHMOND 3.0 6.2 10.5 13.9 (87)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 4.3 9.5 10.8 12.11 (83)
Richmond: Martin 4, Aarts 2, Collier-Dawkins 2, Nankervis, Lynch, Castagna, Riewoldt, Rioli
Greater Western Sydney: Hogan 4, Ward, Kelly, Green, Greene, Hill, O'Halloran, Hopper, Lloyd
Richmond: Baker, Martin, Nankervis, Short, Collier-Dawkins, Naish
Greater Western Sydney: Hopper, Taranto, Hogan, Ward, Green, Taylor
Greater Western Sydney: Perryman (hamstring)
Richmond: Ross (unused)
Greater Western Sydney: Bruhn (replaced Perryman)
Crowd: 18,798 at Marvel Stadium