Richmond seals status as modern-day dynasty with commanding AFL Grand Final victory (vid)
Richmond have confirmed their new dynasty, crushing GWS by 89 points in the most-lopsided AFL grand final in 12 years.
The 17.12 (114) to 3.7 (25) thrashing on Saturday at the MCG gives the Tigers their second flag in three years and confirms coach Damien Hardwick’s men as the latest AFL pacesetters.
Fittingly, Maureen Hafey presented the premiership cup to Hardwick and captain Trent Cotchin.
Her late husband, the legendary Tom Hafey, coached Richmond to their last dynasty that featured the 1967, ’69 and 73-74 premierships.
It is Richmond’s 12th flag, drawing them level with Melbourne in equal-fifth place.
It is the biggest grand final thrashing since Geelong’s record 119-point win in 2007 over Port Adelaide.
Dustin Martin shone with four goals and won his second Norm Smith Medal as best afield.
Marlion Pickett, the story of the past two days since his debut was announced, also starred on the game’s biggest stage.
The 27-year-old father of four, who did jail time as a teenager and was recruited four months ago, impressed as he became only the sixth player in AFL history to debut in a grand final.
Saturday’s win was Richmond’s 12th in a row for the season and capped their resounding finish to the campaign.
It has been a year full of adversity, with star defender Alex Rance missing since round one because of a knee reconstruction and several other injuries to key players.
After teetering at the mid-season bye on a 7-6 record, Richmond have not missed a beat since.
By contrast, two bruising finals wins over Brisbane and Collingwood took their toll on GWS and Saturday was a bridge too far.
The Giants’ first grand final was in trouble even before the game started in front of 100,014 fans.
Co-captain Phil Davis was put through a fitness test an hour before the first bounce because of his sore calf.
GWS took the punt on playing him and it backfired horribly, with the key defender clearly proppy after he was hurt in last week’s nailbiting preliminary-final win over Collingwood.
Davis’ opponent Jack Riewoldt repeatedly had the jump on him leading for the ball and kicked five goals.
Controversial star Toby Greene also had a dirty day in his return from suspension and had minimal influence.
After a frenetic and scrambly first term, Daniel Rioli snapped accurately on the quarter-time siren to put the Tigers seven points ahead.
Rioli raised four fingers on either hand – 44 – as a gesture to his cousin Willie Rioli.
The West Coast forward is suspended on two anti-doping charges.
GWS did not kick a goal from 20 minutes in the first term until 24 minutes into the third as the Tigers applied their trademark relentless pressure.
Riewoldt booted three of Richmond’s five goals in the second term and, every time he led, it seemed that Davis was another metre further off his pace.
After snapping an outstanding goal early in the third quarter, Martin had another shot a few minutes later.
Instead, he squared up to find Pickett on his own and Tigers teammates mobbed him when he kicked his first AFL goal.