Tigers survive fighting Hawks late blitz as Martin returns to best form

It has only taken two weeks for Dustin Martin to get back into shape. The Brownlow medalist demonstrates his class on Saturday afternoon as Richmond Hawthorn triumphs with 23 points.

It was not without shock, however, as the Hawks scored four quick goals in the last quarter in a fighting show from the young club.

Martin returned on lap 8 after seven weeks on the sidelines and showed flashes of brilliance in his first match.

But when he returned to the MCG to defeat the Hawks in Round 9, Martin played an influential hand and got better as the match progressed in the 117-94 win.

It echoed the way the match went. Hawthorn started well and struggled with momentum in the first half, but Richmond took it back and largely controlled the last three terms.

That’s except for a ten-minute blitz in the last term, where Hawthorn narrowed more than a five-goal margin to just two punts in a compelling battle.

However, the match was soured by the knowledge that both clubs will be sweating from injuries to key pillars.

Jack Gunston went down with an ankle injury from the siren of the quarter and the injury became apparent as the match progressed.

Meanwhile, Noah Balta was knocked out three quarters of the time and spent the rest of the game on the bench with a frozen hamstring.

Splitting his time between midfield and the forward, Martin set the scene with a remarkable snap out of the bag in the third term that gave the Tigers a three-goal lead.

He also gave them a 26-point lead early in the final term when he bagged his third major, eventually finishing with 20 possessions and four evictions, along with his scoreboard influence.

The Tigers were questioned during the week without the footy by the great David King from North Melbourne, but Damien Hardwick’s men responded emphatically with an impressive defensive effort.

Despite having more divestments (337-378), Richmond broke the tackle count, putting down some 75 compared to Hawthorn’s 54.

Their highest tally of the year was previously 53, set back in Round 3, and the Tigers are now beginning to show some of the hallmarks of their dominance during their recent premiership run.

Tom Lynch was another Tiger to hit his belt on Saturday afternoon, kicking four goals in a performance that could extend his lead at the top of the Coleman Medal standings.

For the Hawks, James Sicily recorded 24 disposals (23 kicks) and provided drive from the backline all day, but was often outclassed by Lynch in the air.

Richmond is now a win and is in the top eight by percentage and will look to further bolster their stocks when they take on Essendon in a ravishing clash next week.

TOTAL SCORE

hawthorn: 4.4, 8.5, 9.8, 14.10. (94)

Richmond: 3.3, 9.5, 12.9, 17.15. (117)

GOALS

hawthorn: Lewis 3, Breust 3, Koschitzke 2, O’Meara, Lynch, Gunston, Worpel

Richmond: Lynch 4, Martin 3, Riewoldt 3, Bolton 2, Soldo 2, Nankervis, Graham, Chestnut

BEST

hawthorn: Sicily, Impey, Koschitzke, O’Meara, Nash

Richmond: Martin, Lynch, Bolton, Nankervis, Baker

Injuries

hawthorn: Gunstone (single)

Richmond: Balta (hamstring)





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