Richmond put Brisbane Lions to the sword at the Gabba on Saturday night, advancing to the preliminary final and completing a dirty weekend for the two clubs that finished the AFL season on top of the ladder.
Richmond’s 47-point win over the Lions came after Geelong’s failure against Collingwood on Friday night and establishes the possibility of a blockbuster Tigers v Pies grand final.
Brisbane had dominated the first quarter, but after the first break the Tigers got their running game going, breaking up the Brisbane lines and opening up opportunities.
The crowd of 37,478 was a record for a Brisbane Lions match at the Gabba, but there was little for them to cheer about as the home side fell apart under relentless pressure to go down 8.17 (65) to 18.4 (112).
Dustin Martin was in brilliant form playing as a deep forward, booting six goals – the most in a final by a Richmond player since Kevin Bartlett in the 1980 grand final.
“They came out fighting in the first half but full credit to the boys we stuck to the process,” Martin told Channel Seven, adding that his role as a forward evolved as the game unfolded.
“I might get used to that,” he said. “[It] just kind of happened as the game went on and I with was just lucky enough to get on the ball, great work,Shane Edwards, Dion Prestia and Kane Lambert they played great. It’s a fantastic side.”
Earlier, Greater Western Sydney has won through to the AFL semi-finals, but Brett Deledio is unlikely to be on the field with the veteran appearing to suffer a season and career-ending calf injury.
Deledio was distraught in the aftermath of the 58-point win over the Western Bulldogs, being carried from the field in tears.
The 275-game former Tiger has had a patchy season with persistent calf injuries restricting his ability to make an impact. He was surrounded by teammates and consoled as the Giants left the ground.
“Whatever will be will be … but it’s not looking good,” said Deledio in the rooms afterwards.
The Giants will play the Brisbane Lions next week at the Gabba after smashing the Bulldogs in the last 40 minutes of the match to win 16. 7 (113) to 8. 7 (55).
Giant Heath Shaw said on Channel Seven the club had needed to get a few injured players back and the bye had this year been welcomed.
“There is a little bit of backs up against the wall,” said Giant Heath Shaw on Channel Seven. “No one gave us a chance.”
Shaw said Deledio had a suspect calf coming into the match and had told coach Leon Cameron that no matter what happened he would finish off the game.
I think he did his calf half way through the second quarter … he was amazing for us in the second half with a torn calf.”
In front of 19,218 fans, the Dogs had a dirty day, starting slowly before fighting back and then surrendering.
It was made worse when rising star Aaron Naughton suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury late in the third term.
The big forward’s left knee buckled under him after he landed awkwardly in a marking contest, ending his day and sparking fears he might have suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
The Bulldogs had stormed into the finals, winning seven of nine games, but GWS were primed for a fight in a game where niggle and tough tackling was the order of the day.
Marcus Bontempelli was often the target of a physical approach by the home side, master tagger Matt de Boer receiving plenty of help from his teammates as the Bulldogs’ superstar was held to 13 possessions.
The Giants led by 10 points at halftime but broke the tense encounter open with a six-goals-to-two third quarter.
Magpie De Goey has work to do to play again in 2019
Collingwood star Jordan De Goey will need everything to go right if he is to play again this season.
The Magpies confirmed on Saturday that De Goey suffered a right hamstring strain and defender Levi Greenwood ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Friday night’s qualifying final win over Geelong.
While the win put Collingwood into a preliminary final, De Goey would not be ready for that match in a fortnight.
Given he returned on Friday night after four games out because of an injury to the same hamstring, De Goey is at extremely long odds to recover in time should Collingwood win through to the September 28 grand final.
“As we all know, talking beyond the prelim is a bit adventurous,” coach Nathan Buckley told Triple M.
“We just know he won’t be there for our next game and that obviously puts a bit of a hole in our plans.”
The news was also bad on Saturday for Greenwood, who most likely will need a knee reconstruction that will sideline him well into next season.
The 30-year-old revealed this week he had signed a one-year contract extension.