But a 10 minute dominance by GWS in the middle of the quarter saw them kick 3.3. Himmelberg providing the target up forward for GWS and kicking two goals, and Ward in early form also kicking one. In what may have ultimately hurt the Giants in terms of rotations, Dylan Shiel copped a high blow to the jaw during a bump from Richmond captain Trent Cotchin. Cotchin is on shaky ground having been fined twice this season already and a third conviction here could see him miss the Grand Final. Shiel continued to play on into the first quarter before finally being taken from the ground an assessed for concussion. He took no further part in the match after quarter time. Richmond wrested control of the match back late in the quarter with Rioli converting a free kick for a push by Haynes and Castagna getting on the end of a chain of passes from Martin and Caddy.
GWS had a chance to level just before quarter time when Patton lead and marked but elected to play on with a handball over the top to Steve Johnson who was unmarked, but the siren sounded before he could kick the goal.In the opening term GWS looked better structured up forward whereas Richmond's ball use was more chaotic and a result of running in numbers and forcing the ball forward at every opportunity. GWS took the early ascendancy in the second quarter. Josh Kelly continued his good form for GWS from the first quarter and kicked the first goal of the quarter and should have had a second shortly after but his kick on the run hit the post. Callan Ward kicked his second to give the GWS a one goal lead over Richmond half way through the quarter.
Scully, Kelly and Whitfield were all running hard to provide the thrust that had put GWS in a good position at this time. But the potency seemed to have gone out of their forward line and would not return in any convincing manner for the rest of the match. In fact a number of long kicks inside 50 saw only defenders at the fall of the ball.Daniel Rioli kicked his second of the match when he was on the end of a handball dished out by Prestia and ran the ball with express pace inside the 50m arc and slotted the goal. A behind to Martin and a rushed behind gave the Tigers held a narrow one point lead. Cotchin was the best for the Tigers at half time and Kelly led the way for GWS. It looked like this would be a game that would end in a tight finish.
That was not to be the case though. The third quarter belonged to Richmond and will be the type of football they will be looking to play against the Crows next week. Daniel Rioli continued to shine both with his tackling pressure and on the scoreboard, adding his third goal from the match with a great snap from the pocket. Again Richmond forced the ball forward in numbers and a chain of possessions that did not necessarily make it cleanly to targets ended up over the top of the defenders to Townsend and he made no mistake kicking a low flat kick through the goal posts. In what seemed like almost a last chance to hang in the match for GWS, Callan Ward was desperate on the goal line thrusting his boot at the spilled ball. The ball went through the middle but the question was whether the ball was already over the line. Ward and GWS got the nod from the review and the goal counted. But that really was the last serious challenge.
Rioli soon added his fourth goal snapping under pressure and putting the Tigers thirteen points up. A clearly under-done Steve Johnson had two good chances to get GWS back into the match, one a set shot from 45m out that he gave off to a team-mate moving sideways and ending up out of bounds on the full and the other shortly afterwards as they pushed forward again and he turned the ball over. It was a clear sign that it was not going to turn around for the Giants. Shane Edwards added a goal for the Tigers and Dustin Martin added two more late in the quarter to give the Tigers a 31 point lead at three quarter time. Relentless pressure from Richmond and some poor turnovers by GWS due to that pressure were the main factors in the Tigers being able to break free on the scoreboard. Nankervis in the ruck for Richmond gave them great service during that quarter both with hit outs and winning contested possession around the ground.
Richmond fans would have still been a little nervous given that their team had coughed up some good leads this season to lose matches that looked to be in the bag. Those nerves were quickly replaced by unbridled joy as Dustin Martin started the quarter as he finished the last, with a goal, burning off defenders and kicking confidently for goal. GWS did continue to try to make something happen, but a rushed behind, Patten missing a set shot and Scully hitting the post did little to bridge the gap. Himmelberg kicked his third for the match after marking on the lead and then Patten also marked on the lead and goaled to reduce the deficit to 25 points halfway through the last quarter. Some pessimistic Richmond supporters might have still felt a little heart flutter. But they soon relaxed again as Jack Riewoldt kicked his first for the match. Butler set the crowd for their final celebrations as he kicked the next two goals putting the match beyond doubt.
Himmelberg marked on the lead and kicked his fourth for the match after the siren sounded as players and supporters in yellow and black celebrated making their first grand final since 1982. In the end a six goal win to the Tigers.
GWS will move on to 2018 and tune up their list in order to go one step further. They were close to the mark this year and were hampered by injury. Tonight in particular they missed the injured Jeremy Cameron and Shane Mumford. Richmond will look to cap off a remarkable turnaround from a club in crisis twelve months ago to Premiers. The Adelaide Crows though will stand in their way and the Tigers will go in underdogs on their home turf, in a stadium that will have a much better crowd balance than today's match. Rance was excellent tonight and will need to produce his best and marshall his defensive comrades against the remarkable firepower to which the Crows have access.
Richmond 4.3 5.7 11.11 15.13 (103) GWS 3.3 5.6 6.10 9.13 (67) GOALS Richmond: Rioli 4, Martin 3, Butler 2, Lambert, Caddy, Castagna, Townsend, Edwards, Riewoldt Greater Western Sydney: Himmelberg 4, Ward 3, Kelly, Patton BEST
Richmond: Cotchin, Rioli, Martin, Grimes, Rance, Lambert, Prestia Greater Western Sydney: Ward, Kelly, Tomlinson, Scully, Davis, Himmelberg Reports: Nil Umpires: Nicholls, Meredith, Ryan Official crowd: 94,258 at the MCG
Article last changed on Saturday, September 23, 2017 - 4:50 PM EDT