Still the team to beat: Richmond continues MCG hot streak with a 28-point win over Collingwood

IF THAT was a Grand Final preview, the last day in September couldn’t come faster.

Momentum swings, enthralling one-on-one battles, arguably the goal of the year and huge body blows — this game had everything.

While Cl term to record a 28-point win at the MCG.

And yesollingwood stuck with Richmond to three-quarter time, the Tigers ran rampant in the fina, they are still the team to beat.

The Tigers exploded out of the blocks with five first quarter goals, two which came from the boot of Jayden Short, who went back-to-back as he lurked outside 50 and pounced when the Magpies were caught napping.

Collingwood’s propensity to handball played into the Tigers’ hands, as they swarmed and ultimately punished Nathan Buckley’s side.

“The kick-to-handball ratio has been out of whack in the first quarter,” Garry Lyon said on Fox Footy.

“Collingwood had more handballs than kicks, particularly their ball winners inside and what that does is it says, ‘Here have a crack that you’ve been doing better than anybody else for the last 12 to 18 months’.”

But if the first term belonged to Richmond, the second celebrated all that has made Collingwood such a devastating team in 2018.

Without star defender Jeremy Howe — who was knocked out in a marking contest, as teammate Darcy Moore’s knee jolted into his forehead — the Magpies kicked five goals to Richmond’s three.

Handball happy in the opening stanza, Collingwood reverted to a kicking game — the proven formula to beating, or at least sticking with, the Tigers.

Mason Cox was an omnipresent target, and his extraordinary height often went unmatched.

And when Shaun Grigg was given the unenviable task of lining up against the American Pie in a ruck contest, he gave away a free kick which resulted in one of Cox’s two second-term goals.

“They got away with it last year playing Shaun Grgg in the ruck, but when Nankervis went off Grundy and Cox have monstered Grigg,” Lyon said.

Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams and Scott Pendlebury were prolific, but butchered the ball. At one stage the usually silky Sidebottom was only going at 11 per cent via foot.

But one of the most intriguing subplots to this finals-like performance was the duel between Dustin Martin and Levi Greenwood.

Greenwood didn’t leave Martin’s side in the first half and kept the 2017 Brownlow medallist to just nine disposals.

The Magpie’s constant chafing appeared to have rattled Martin when he gave away an undisciplined 50-metre penalty late in the second term.

But Martin quickly showed Greenwood who was boss when he took him to the goal square, won a one-on-one marking contest and kicked a goal on the siren.

Martin kicked off proceedings in the third term with a snap from the goal square. A lesson for Greenwood: don’t poke the bear.

Richmond threatened to break free of Collingwood’s shackles, but the Magpies refused to give in or give up.

Collingwood’s myriad of medium forwards have been crucial to the club’s success this year — and so it was no surprise Josh Thomas and Will Hoskin-Elliott kept the Magpies in the match in the third quarter.

But for each punch there was a counter punch.

Richmond cult hero Jack Higgins executed one of the goals of the year, as he wound around the goalpost and karate kicked over his head.

At the same time, Matthew Scharenberg fell to the ground, clutching his knee. There were immediate concerns the Collingwood defender could have ruptured his ACL for a third time.

And even more immediately, how Collingwood’s defence would hold up with another defender out for the match.

The answer to that question was revealed in the first five minutes of the final term.

Only four points separated the teams as they entered the fourth, Richmond with their noses in front.

But Jack Riewoldt, Jacob Townsend and Martin hit the scoreboard in quick succession, opening up the biggest lead of the match.

Prior to this outing Richmond had outscored its opponents by 216 points in fourth quarters — and again, they put their foot to the pedal.

Collingwood certainly lost no fans on Saturday.

And should this be a Grand Final preview, they will likely be boosted by the returns of Jordan De Goey and Adam Treloar.

But the injuries are mounting.

And the tipping point is nigh.

Source : Foxsports