When you come at the king, you best not miss.
But Brisbane did – and often – to allow Richmond to roar to a 41-point victory in the heavyweight clash of the big cats at Metricon Stadium on Tuesday night.
Bad kicking is bad football and Brisbane’s return of 4.17 (41) to Richmond’s 12.10 (82) told the story of the Lions’ wild and wasteful night as well as the Tigers’ killer instinct.
Much like last year’s final at the Gabba between the two clubs, the Lions were wayward in front of goal to ruin their domination in general play only to then see the Tigers march the Sherrin down the other end and score with ease.
The match was billed as a mano-a-mano battle between Dustin Martin and Lachie Neale for the Brownlow Medal as the reigning premiers took on a legitimate contender for their crown.
Much like his car in the MCG carpark after last year’s grand final, Martin’s standing as the premier player in the competition is going nowhere.
He was outstanding and had plenty of help to see Richmond claim their 15th consecutive win over Brisbane to help star defender Nick Vlastuin celebrate his 150th senior game in style.
Martin finished with 24 disposals, 10 contested possessions, 10 score involvements and three goal assists. Jack Riewoldt kicked four goals, Tom Lynch three and Shai Bolton revelled in his midfield role to collect 24 disposals while Liam Baker had a game-high 26 disposals.
A pinpoint pass on the outside of his right boot in the third term was the highlight from Martin who did not have an abundance of the ball but made every touch count and was involved in most of Richmond’s scoring movements. He oozed class and was clearly the best player on the ground.
Neale had 26 disposals but too many of Brisbane’s usual suspects in the best players column had horribly off nights as the Lions dropped to a 7-3 record while the Tigers grabbed their sixth win of 2020.
Richmond did most of their damage in the second term when Brisbane enjoyed a 14-9 advantage in inside-50 entries only for the Tigers to kick 5.2 to the Lions’ 1.5 to carry a 27-point lead into the main break.
Sam Skinner’s miss from the top of the goal square was the lowlight for the Lions who also lost Cam Rayner to a hamstring injury in the second term.
Set-shot misses from Dayne Zorko, Lincoln McCarthy and Charlie Cameron underlined Brisbane’s disturbing trend of spraying it wide in front of the big sticks.
The Lions registered five more behinds to start the third quarter as Riewoldt kicked the term’s first goal against the run of play. Brisbane kicked just the one goal in the second half through Zorko.
At the first break, Richmond had 13 more contested possessions, four more tackles and five more inside-50s. They were up for the fight, absorbing Brisbane’s best shot and then counterpunching with interest.
The Lions got off to a flyer with the first two goals of the match through Eric Hipwood and Cameron as Brisbane’s pressure made life difficult for the Tigers.
However, two attempted spoils from Lions defender Harris Andrews went astray to hand goals to Jack Higgins and Lynch.
Lynch booted his second goal after outmarking Andrews to give the Tigers a six-point lead at the first break.
The spearhead was on the angry pills as he had running battles with a number of Brisbane players including Alex Witherden, who copped a shove to the head while he was lying on the ground.
Lynch then took on Andrews, Witherden and Noah Answerth before the start of the third term.
The Tigers will now turn their attention to ladder-leader Port Adelaide this Saturday while the Lions will host the Bulldogs at the Gabba.
GRIMES GIVES CHARLIE A MISS
After owning Charlie Cameron in their two most recent outings by keeping him to seven touches each time, Dylan Grimes was expected to again go to the electric small forward. However, the Tiger stayed deep and allowed the 2019 All-Australian to be picked up by a variety of teammates. It didn’t matter who was on who, Brisbane missed most of their shots at goal anyway.
LIONS OR BUNNIES?
What does this loss to Brisbane’s confidence should they meet the Tigers in the finals again? The Lions go to water in front of goal when they meet Richmond who have now won 15 straight against Brisbane.
RICHMOND 3.3 8.5 9.6 12.10 (82)
BRISBANE LIONS 2.3 3.8 3.15 4.17 (41)
Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Lynch 3, Aarts 2, Pickett, Bolton, Higgins.
Brisbane Lions: Zorko, McCarthy, Hipwood, Cameron.
Richmond: Martin, Bolton, Baker, Lynch, Short, Balta.
Brisbane Lions: Neale, McCarthy, McInerney, Lyons, Ah Chee.
Brisbane Lions: Rayner (hamstring).
O’Gorman, Whetton, Findlay
5651 at Metricon Stadium