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An MCG full house greeted Geelong and Richmond to the all-Victorian second qualifying final with most fans already in their seats. It was particularly noticeable that the crowd was dominated by Tiger's supporters. A massive roar for the Tigers when they ran out and loud boos for Cats. A win in this match would give the winner a preliminary final against an interstate team and avoid meeting either of the form sides in Sydney and Adelaide before the grand final.
Richmond were dominant early and it was Townsend that kicked the opening goal for the Tigers after Reiwoldt contested the marking contest outside the goal square. Townsend simply swooped on the ball at the back of the pack and slammed it home. Richmond had the ball in their forward half for most of the first five minutes but could only add behinds from Riewoldt and Martin snapped and missed. Jordan Murdoch looked a show to kick the Cat's first after fending off and belting the ball forward but his kick was out of bounds on the full. No doubt the relentless pressure from Richmond influencing that kick and other Geelong disposals. Dangerfield scrubbed a kick toward goal but again under pressure and missed well to the right for Geelong's first score. Richmond were defending very wide.

As Geelong lifted their work rate in the second half of the quarter the Tigers too were scrambling kicks forward quickly, but to contests rather than to space. A classic battle in Geelong's forward line between Harry Taylor and All-Australian captain Rance was developing. But Rance ducked his head into Taylor's knee when picking up the ball and had to go off under the blood rule. Murdoch had a second chance to goal for the Cats but he once again kicked out of bounds on the full after a free kick for a push out. Richmond were tackling and running in numbers more often than the Cats.Josh Caddy provided a good target up forward and took a good pack mark reading the ball the best but from 30m out he hit the post for the Tiger's third behind.  Jack Reiwoldt passed a mongrel floating punt from the left pocket into Dustin Martin in front to the behinds. He could have gone back and taken the kick but quickly chipped a short high pass back out to Caddy who marked and converted from close range straight in front.

The Tigers had a chance to get a good break on Geelong and thought Houli had goaled, but the free kick was paid for a push out to the Geelong defender on the line as the ball went over his head. The replay appeared to show that he was pushed in the side. Geelong had their chances but Mitch Duncan failed to get Geelong's first goal when his kick from 48m hit the post and Harry Taylor marked 35m out and came off his long run after the siren and also hit the post. Cotchin was dominant in the first quarter for the Tigers and had Dangerfield covered when on the ball. Perhaps a bit wasteful given how many inside 50's they had but Richmond would still have taken heart from their two goal lead at quarter time.

The second quarter was played in two halves, Richmond dominating the first half before Geelong worked their way back into it and finishing strong. Riewoldt and Martin worked to get the ball to Caddy who was running with the flight of the ball toward goal and marked the chipped kick. But from 30m out in the pocket he hit the post which must have been the fourth time for the match.  Prestia brought Sellwood down with a tackle and also missed a set shot. Fierce pressure was causing turnovers by both teams. Dropped marks, kicks out of bounds on the full, missed shots and handballs to team mates under pressure all told the story. It was sixteen minutes into the second term when Butler for Richmond in the pocket got on the end of a handball out of the pack snapped on the right for Richmond's first goal for the quarter.  Geelong were starting to get the ball inside 50 but Rance was desperate and attacking in the air to deny the Cats.Finally the Cats broke through against the run of play and Motlop ran a give and get to Tuohy and ends up with the ball to goal for the Cats. Tuohy's fumbles in between almost brought the forward thrust undone.

In an amazing finish to the half just seconds before the siren, Joel Sellwood marked a clearing kick just outside the 50, dished the ball inside to Dangerfield who ran straight back inside the 50 and drilled the ball through for the goal. After not having decisive influence on the game to that time, the pair known as 'Dangerwood' looked like they might finally be ready to take charge. The Tiger's still with the lead but now reduced to just nine points.The wrestle continued as the third quarter got underway. The first score was a behind to the Tigers as Martin smothered a defensive kick near the top of the square and the ball ricocheted backwards. Geelong were now one short with Cam Guthrie out of the game with a calf injury. A snap at goal from the pocket from Parsons at the other end was thwarted by Houli, whose double handed fist of the ball went through for rushed behind.

Geelong started to get on top and Tom Hawkins spilled a pack mark but kept his feet while others hit the ground, he looped a handball over the top to Parsons who avoided the oncoming defenders to snap from the top of the square. Cotchin and Martin had been dominant to half time but were now being contained. Geelong probably should have done more with their chances but Blicavs flying kick at ball in the air and Zach Guthrie's set shots both resulted in behinds. But the scores were now level. Richmond looked to steady and maintain possession as they moved down the ground.

Riewoldt soccer snapped a kick from the left pocket on his left for a behind and back to a one point lead. Vlastuin started a run of goals for the Tigers when he kicked a set shot from 48m. He had marked after not being checked and getting on the end of a short pass. Light rain was now falling. Dustin Martin marked, played on around the mark 70m out. He speared a pass into Edwards 40m out straight in front. Richmond fans delighted after he kicked rising as one before the ball has passed the goal line.

But even with the Tigers on the rise, Geelong returned fire. Zach Tuohy roved the ball on the fat side of the pack as the long ball came to square, but his snap went across the face for a behind. Tom Hawkins' free kick for a push out off the contest brought the margin back to seven points. For much of the match he has been playing high up the ground, but he showed why he is so dangerous when he is deep in the forward line with that goal. Dangerfield continued to try and get into the game, and he took an amazing mark in the defensive 50 over Jack Riewoldt running back with the flight (reminiscent of similar marks taken by Jonathan Brown and Nick Reiwoldt in previous seasons). But what was probably the goal of the night was a teaser for what was to come in the last quarter. Dustin Martin running off half back bouncing, delivering long to Riewoldt on the bounce at centre half forward, Riewoldt using his body to move his opponent and get the ball in to an unmarked Prestia in the square and Prestia driving it home just before the three quarter time siren.

Richmond fans were on their feet praising their team as they headed into the huddle with a 13 point lead. Prestia worked hard throughout and was no doubt the best player on the ground for the third quarter. At the start of the last quarter the rain was getting heavier and the Dustin Martin show got underway.  His first involvement inside 50 was when he fended off a Geelong defender in the pocket and dished a handball to Reiwoldt but his checkside snap resulted in a behind.  His next show of strength saw Martin fend off another tackle at half forward, he then lost the Geelong defenders and sent a long bomb to the goal square into Grigg's lap. Grigg simply turned and goalled from 2m out. This time on the opposite forward flank Martin cleans up from a spoiled mark, runs inside 50, bounces and hit Butler.

Butler's set shot kick from 30m misses as Martin comes to the bench and receives a huge roar from the crowd. Richmond are all over the Cats, Rioli takes a flying snap from 50 but hits behind post. Shortly after Rioli roves on boundary, dishes to Graham who gives over the top to Lambert who adds another goal for the Tigers. Back on the ground Martin comes off center half back at the bounce unmarked, wins the ball in the cetre and delivers to centre half forward, gets it back again and finds Townsend with a long kick who marks it next to the point post, he runs around and kicks the goal to put them 34 points up. Now it is raining Richmond goals. A flying pack mark is taken by Castagna and he has no problem kicking the goal from 30m out on a 45 degree angle. That is definitely it, Geelong fans are now leaving in numbers.

Again Dustin Martin is driving Richmond forward, delivering inside 50 to Butler, he gives it across to Caddy and from 25m out he kicks the sixth unanswered goal for the Tigers. Geelong get a late consolation goal to Harry Taylor who beats Rance in what appears to be an anomaly in the game tonight. Not to be outdone though Richmond add two final goals to two favorite sons. Trent Cotchin attacked the ball, blind turned, swivels and snaps the goal late in the match, his teammates swamping the skipper with congratulations.

And the final goal of the night came to Jack Reiwoldt. Edwards delivered a well weighted chip for uncontested mark on the lead and he kicked his first for the night, despite plenty of contributions in the forward line throughout the match. Cotchin, Rance and Martin all finished on the bench taking a breather and enjoying the show for the final few minutes. Yellow and Black joy as the siren sounded and the Tiger ran out 51 point winners at the final siren. Oh we're from Tigerland rang out as loudly and passionately as can be recalled in recent times. But with all knowing that there are two more wins required for the big prize to be theirs.

GEELONG  0.4 2.4  4.9  5.10 (40)
RICHMOND 2.4 3.7 6.10 13.13 (91)

Geelong: Motlop, Dangerfield, Parsons, Hawkins, Taylor
Richmond: Townsend 2, Caddy 2, Butler, Vlastuin, Edwards, Prestia, Grigg, Lambert, Castagna, Cotchin, Riewoldt
Geelong: Duncan, Tuohy, Dangerfield, S.Selwood, Lonergan, Smith 
Richmond: Martin, Prestia, Rance, Cotchin, Vlastuin, Lambert
Geelong: C.Guthrie (calf)
Richmond: Nil 
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Stevic, Nicholls, McInerney
Official Crowd 95,028

Article last changed on Sunday, September 10, 2017 - 1:26 AM EDT

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