An eye-catching performance from Dustin Martin has helped Richmond to an emphatic 71-point NAB Challenge win over an undermanned Hawthorn at Holm Park Reserve in Beaconsfield.
A Hawks side missing a host of premiership stars – including Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Isaac Smith and Luke Breust – couldn’t go with the Tigers after quarter-time, with Damien Hardwick’s men going on to post a 1.15.5 (104) to 0.4.9 (33) win in front of a sell-out crowd of 6384.
After a scrappy first quarter, a much-improved Richmond bounced out to a 27-point lead at halftime, then increased their advantage to 43 points at the last break ,before finishing the job in impressive fashion.
Martin was influential from the outset, gathering 25 possessions and taking eight marks.
He joined fellow star Tigers Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt, Alex Rance and Shane Edwards in playing their first games of the pre-season campaign after a youthful line-up went down last week to Fremantle.
Riewoldt finished with a nine-point goal, 10 marks and five score involvements after a brilliant opening term, while Cotchin (21 possessions and two goals) and Rance (26 touches) were also prominent.
Earlier, a dominant performance from ruckman Max Gawn lifted Melbourne to an impressive 19-point win over Port Adelaide.
But the win might have come at a cost, with gun youngster Angus Brayshaw limping off in the opening seconds of Saturday’s game with a medial ligament strain.
Brayshaw, a No.3 draft pick in 2014, did not return to the field as the Demons steered their way to a 0.15.5 (95) to 1.10.7 (76) win at Elizabeth Oval in Adelaide’s north.
Port started strongly and led by as much as 30 points shortly before halftime but were held scoreless in the third quarter as Melbourne kicked six straight majors.
By the time young forward Aaron Vandenberg booted an impressive checkside goal late in the quarter, the Demons had taken their lead to 15 points.
The 208cm Gawn proved the difference for Melbourne, racking up 42 hitouts, seven clearances and 15 disposals in a best-on-ground performance.
Jack Viney (28 touches, 11 clearances) was outstanding in the midfield while No.4 draft pick Clayton Oliver showed plenty of class on debut.
Goalsneak Jeff Garlett looked in impressive touch, booting three goals, but it was a fairly quiet day for young star Jesse Hogan who had one major.
Port’s nightmare third quarter went from bad to worse when Robbie Gray marked after the siren and attempted to snap the goal, which was promptly disallowed.
Captain Travis Boak (22 touches, three goals) was the best of the Power’s midfielders but young bull Ollie Wines managed just nine disposals.