A sensational performance from Dustin Martin prompted Richmond to an opening win of the season over a gallant young team from Carlton.
The reigning prime ministers were well and truly pushed in the first three quarters before stepping down late in the last term to run out. 15. 15. (105) to 11. 14. (80) winners.
As his team clung to an eight-point lead in the final change, Martin started in the fourth quarter, collecting 12 of his 31 assignments as well as six engagements during the quarter.
“He just has the ability to do what we’ve never seen anyone do on a consistent basis before, he’s a midfielder with the ability to make a key defender silly,” said Nick Riewoldt, great St Kilda, on the cover of Fox Footy.
While the Blues made a brave effort, it was a case of the same age as Richmond, dooming David Teague’s side to their ninth consecutive first-round loss to the Tigers.
Sam Walsh put on a better performance on the pitch for Carlton, finishing with 31 eliminations, but the drop in some of his younger teammates was noticeable in the second half.
“They’re right next door and as brave as they were, Sam Walsh was absolutely gorgeous, there are just players on that team that you look at and say, ‘I don’t think they’re going to take Carlton to where they are. you have to go, ”former Demons skipper Garry Lyon told Fox Footy.
“Carlton’s effort has been tremendous. Let’s face it, they might be the best team in the modern age, so let’s judge them on that.”
“At this point that development could still come, but a few young players that they invested a lot in during the draft, you still look in a few moments and think, ‘I’m not sure,'” added Riewoldt.
“I see patches where it could go both ways, but that’s the big question mark right now. They don’t hit deep enough.
“There are those moments that you watch, and you always magnify those big last quarter moments because that’s where the game was won and lost tonight.
“Unfortunately for the Blues, they were disappointed on some of these occasions by the younger ones.
“It’s a similar scenario, isn’t it? Carlton was really competitive in the patches and even though he was tight throughout the last quarter, you felt deep down that Richmond had this game in control. .
“They dominated the position on the court and when they needed to flex their muscles, they found this equipment.”
Some of the latest AFL rules were presented in the second half of the year, including medical substitutions as well as the impact of reducing the trade figure by 75 rotations.
Carlton brought in Oscar McDonald in place of Jack Silvagni, who was substituted at halftime with a shoulder injury, and the big man scored two goals in his Blues debut.
Astbury’s elbow leads to goal
Richmond exercised his medical sub, Jack Ross, at the end of the third quarter, when he was brought in for Nick Vlastuin, who was kidnapped with a problem with his right knee.
The Tigers will also be sweating over the AFL’s game review agent’s verdict on a third-quarter incident involving defenseman David Astbury, who was reported to hit Lachie Plowman in the third quarter.
Carlton will be back in action next Thursday night against Collingwood, while Richmond will also return to the MCG to face Hawthorn on Sunday.