Richmond took home the 2017 AFL premiership cup courtesy of a 48–point win over the Adelaide Crows on Saturday afternoon at the MCG.
The Crows started strongly with Rory Laird, Rory Sloane, Charlie Cameron and Matt Crouch all getting plenty of the ball. Sloane kicked the first goal of the game after Crouch found him waiting inside 50 with a nice kick over the top.
Richmond launched a few raids of their own, thanks to superstar forward Jack Riewoldt’s furious efforts, kicking the Tigers first three points of the game, before Josh Caddy was finally able to settle his side’s nerves and get their opening goal.
Adelaide went into quarter time with an 11-point lead as some light rain started to tumble over the MCG. But this was quickly wiped away as Riewoldt finally got his goal, with some dreadful defending on the line enabling his snap to bounce through.
Alex Rance had sensational second quarter for the Tigers, constantly getting off Josh Jenkins to intercept the ball and chip in with a couple of one-percenters which saved his side down back. Swingman Andy Otten was switched down forward to try and play near Rance but this didn’t havem much of an impact on Rance.
The 2017 Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin had a couple of moments in the second quarter where he was allowed some space, and he hurt the Crows by being at his unselfish best with the ball.
The Tigers had the momentum and took a nine-point lead into halftime, before a stirring third quarter blitz thanks to some intense pressure locking the ball in and around the Crows’ attacking 50 ensured they reaped the rewards. Tigers medium-forward Jack Graham, playing in only his fifth game, was impressive in kicking two third-quarter goals.
Richmond were able to force Adelaide to keep going wide when trying to move the ball up forward, playing into the Tigers’ setup. They call it the premiership quarter and this was where the game was won and lost.
It was party-time in the last quarter, as Riewoldt kicked the first goal to seal the result. Small-forward Dan Butler brought out the party tricks with a snap from the boundary and Martin was able to get a goal to cap off a fantastic performance – creating history as the first-ever Brownlow winner to carry off the Norm Smith Medal in the same season.
The delight on big Richmond faithful’s faces, such as CEO Brendan Gale, club legend Matthew Richardson and coach Damien Hardwick, was there to see as emotions boiled over on the final siren. Riewoldt even let off an f-bomb live on-air to Richardson when being interviewed after the siren, such was the feeling of relief and elations
Meanwhile, Martin will start 2018 as the games number one player after an amazing 2017 season in which he broke a number of individual statistics, but more importantly, led his side to a drought-breaking premiership to complement the game’s two highest individual honours.
Adelaide had a number of players go missing, including Jenkins, Tom Lynch, Andy Otten and Eddie Betts. Matt Crouch and Sloane were among Adelaide’s best performers, as the Crows looked different to the side that romped to finishing first on the ladder this season.
Captain Taylor Walker found the going difficult early before getting on the scoreboard in the second half, and a new challenge awaits in his captaincy career after this crushing loss. Losing a grand final is always a bitter pill to swallow, but losing it in this fashion is something different altogether. The Crows are better than this and will know they were defeated by a deserving Richmond team, but many questions will be asked over summer on how to avenge this.
It was hard to find a bad player for Richmond – they had a number of players that were sensational, including Rance, Martin, Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy, Bachar Houli, Graham, Riewoldt and Daniel Rioli. It was a true team performance, with everyone doing their job on the field.
Richmond fans will no doubt be celebrating this special day for a long time to come – a 37-year drought broken – as will the players, of course. Once the dust settles, plans will be put in place to defend the flag in 2018. But for now, its ‘Tiger Time’.
— Richmond FC (@Richmond_FC) September 30, 2017