AFL grand final 2020: Richmond crowned premiers as Dustin Martin leads Tigers to victory over Geelong
The dynasty is complete.
Richmond have proven themselves to be one of the AFL’s historical powerhouses by winning back to back flags and three of the last four premierships with a 12.9 (81) to 7.8 (50) win over Geelong at the Gabba.
The Tigers showed all the class that has seen them dominate the AFL by fighting back from 22 points down during the second quarter to kick 10 of the next 12 goals to storm to victory.
It was billed as a game of contrasting styles as chaos took on control.
It was billed as a game of sustained success versus sentiment. Richmond were chasing claims to a dynasty and Geelong were trying to send Gary Ablett out with a flag and also ensure Patrick Dangerfield’s career had the exclamation point it deserved.
It was billed as Danger v Dusty. The contest within a contest.
The final script read dynasty, with chaos in control and Dusty kicking four goals in another stunning grand final performance.
It was a grand final of drama and the twists started early.
Ablett’s final game seemed set to last only five minutes after he injured his left shoulder in a tackle from Trent Cotchin. It was the same shoulder Ablett needed surgery on while playing for Gold Coast.
But as Geelong’s eyes focused on Ablett leaving the field, Richmond’s turned just metres away as Nick Vlastuin lay unconscious following a contest with Dangerfield. The Cat’s forearm crashed into Vlastuin’s head and the Tiger backman didn’t move.
It was obvious Vlastuin’s grand final was over while Ablett’s hung by a thread. Surely this wasn’t the way his career would end.
The Cats had four set shots for the first quarter for 2.2 while Richmond’s majors came from general play as they used their handballing to open up space. Chaos versus control was already the theme.
But the game swung during the second term as Geelong got the game on their terms.
The Cats had 31 marks in the first half. Richmond had nine. Seven of Geelong’s marks were inside 50.
Losing Vlastuin robbed the Tigers of their interceptor and it also cost them structure.
Geelong kept getting set shots. And they nailed three of them.
Ablett came back on, produced a piece of brilliance to get the ball to Joel Selwood and he found Tom Hawkins inside 50 for a goal. Suddenly they led by 22 points and Richmond had huge problems.
It took a Dusty piece of brilliance to turn the tide as he kicked a goal from nothing.
Geelong led by 15 points at half-time, but Richmond’s hope was that they were in the contest despite everything going against them.
They got the match back on their terms in the blink of an eye and the world looked different.
Riewoldt, who barely touched the ball in the first half, kicked a goal to open the quarter and Jason Castagna wobbled the ball through for another.
The game was turning, but Ablett got involved again to help Gryan Miers to kick a goal and give the Cats a break.
But Richmond kept surging. Kane Lambert kicked a major and then Martin stepped up to produce a Dusty moment to give the Tigers the lead.
Just two points separated the teams with one quarter remaining but the momentum was clearly in Richmond’s favour.
They scrambled the first goal of the final term to get a break and when Tom Lynch marked a Shai Bolton kick in the goal square, he made it a 15-point game and Geelong were on the rack.
Enter Dusty. He got past Mark O’Connor, kicked his third major and the Tigers were premiers.
All that was left was for him to kick another freakish goal. The dynasty is complete.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails