Fri, Sep 7, 8:51am by Head Editor
A Dustin Martin masterclass has seen the Richmond Tigers steamroll the Hawthorn Hawks by 31 points in the first Qualifying Final and has seen the club’s Premiership odds come in from $2.25 to the odds-on price of $1.90.
‘Dusty’ finished with 29 disposals, 10 clearances, five inside 50s and one of the best goals seen in 2018, an effort that got the yellow and black’s finals campaign off to a great start.
Three of Richmond’s 13 goals came from the unlikely source of utility Kamdyn McIntosh, who’s second goal at the 27 minute mark of the second quarter gave the Tigers a two goal buffer and plenty of momentum heading into the second half.
Before that the Hawks had put up a real fight against their highly-fancied opponents and their 1-point lead at quarter time could have grown if not for missed opportunities from both Shaun Burgoyne and Luke Breust who uncharacteristically missed easy set shots.
A five goal to two third term from the Premiers saw the margin blow out to 36 points at the final change and from then on captain Trent Cotchin and his team had one eye on a Home Preliminary final.
Speaking of Cotchin, he was again brilliant, racking up 26 touches, which was the same amount of possessions as teammates Dion Prestia and Kane Lambert, the latter also finished with three goals assists.
Brownlow Medal favourite Tom Mitchell can hold his head high. The ball magnet had 38 disposals and kicked a goal while Jaeger O’Meara and Liam Shiels were determined all night, in particular Shiels, who had 26 touches and 11 tackles.
Making matters worse for the brown and gold, key defender Ben Stratton went down with a suspected hamstring injury in the third term while Blake Hardwick also spent some time on the bench with an apparent hip injury, but he returned to the field and played out the game.
Hawthorn’s Premiership odds ballooned from $8 to $21 as they now meet the winner of Friday night’s elimination final between Melbourne and Geelong.
The 13.17 (95) to 9.10 (64) victory put the reigning Premiers in the box seat to defend their crown. Damien Hardwick’s charges now have the week off and a home Preliminary final to look forward to.
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