After going down to arch-rival Geelong last week, a fired-up Hawthorn met a struggling Richmond outfit at the MCG on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers went into the match with some recent success against the reigning AFL Premiers, having defeated the Hawks in their last two encounters.
As proceedings got underway at the MCG, it was clear that the Hawks would not let their guard down again. The first quarter was completely dominated by Hawthorn with Luke Hodge and Sam Mitchell leading from the front while the speed of Brad Hill was causing the Tigers all sorts of problems. Had Hawthorn kicked straight the game would have been well and truly over at quarter time. However poor finishing saw the Hawks go into the first break leading 4.7 to two straight goals for the Tigers - one a magnificent individual effort by Dustin Martin.
Richmond went one on one in the second quarter in an attempt to slow the Hawthorn run but still struggled to score. Shaun Burgoyne and Grant Birchall led the way in defense for the Hawks, while the Tigers' Dustin Martin was fighting a lone hand up forward, kicking his second goal of the game prior to half time. While the Tigers worked hard, they were simply not up to the skill level of Hawthorn, and at half time could consider themselves lucky to only trail by 26 points.
The third quarter was the Cyril Rioli show, the Hawthorn forward putting on a sublime display of skills as he cut Richmond to ribbons, kicking four goals in the process. At the end of the game Rioli would have an incredible statistical line of 17 disposals at 100% efficiency - almost unheard of in modern footy. Richmond fans temporarily found their voice as Hawk defender Josh Gibson leveled young Tiger midfielder Reece Conca in a marking contest, in an incident that will no doubt be brought to the attention of the match review panel*. With David Hale, Ben McEvoy, Jordan Lewis and Burgoyne joining the Rioli goal fest, the Hawks held a commanding 64 point lead at three quarter time.
Richmond failed to make any inroads into the Hawthorn lead in the final quarter, going down by 66 points and slumping to a 2-4 record in the process. The Hawks now perch themselves near the top of the table with a 5-1 record and premiership favoritism as they prepare for a Saturday clash at the MCG with St Kilda. Richmond coach Damien Hardwick is now under siege and has another tough week ahead as his Tigers prepare to confront a Geelong team on the rebound from a shock loss to the surprising Port Adelaide.
* Editor's note: Gibson was found guilty of striking by the Match Review panel but due to his previous good record can accept a reprimand.
Scoreboard Richmond: 2.0 3.1 4.6 7.10 ( 52) Hawthorn: 4.7 6.9 14.10 18.10 (118) Best Players Richmond: Astbury, Ellis, Grigg, Jackson Hawthorn: Rioli, Hodge, Mitchell, Duryea, Hill, McEvoy
Article last changed on Monday, April 28, 2014 - 9:07 PM EDT