AFL world gobsmacked as Richmond and Carlton share in 51-year first

Not since the 1972 VFL semi-final have Richmond and Carlton been tied up at the final siren.

Richmond's Tom Lynch celebrates on the left, with Carlton's Blake Acres and Lewis Young on the right.
Richmond's Tom Lynch kicked a later goal to push the AFL season opener against Carlton to a draw, their first between the teams for 51 years. Pictures: Getty Images

Richmond and Carlton fans were treated to an AFL classic in the season opener on Thursday night, with the two teams unable to be separated after four quarters. The clubs played their first draw since 1972, with scores locked at 8.10 (58) following a late goal from Richmond's Tom Lynch levelled the scores.

Fans were left stunned by the result, with a fast start from both teams giving way to an intense arm-wrestle in the second half. Blues coach Michael Voss however, said his side would rue several key errors despite an encouraging display.

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The Blues weren't alone in making crucial mistakes in the final quarter. Richmond's Shai Bolton had arguably broken the game open for the Tigers, but his set shot miss from 30m out after opting for a snap kick was labelled 'mind-blowing' by fans.

Voss remained entirely complimentary of his side, declaring it was a game they would have lost 12 months ago and a clear sign of progress. Key errors in the final quarter came back to haunt them however - but fans were nevertheless blown away by the contest.

Lynch's game-tying goal was his third of the night, with Carlton's Ed Curnow bagging three of his own. The MCG crowd was in a frenzy as the Tigers closed in during the final quarter, but fans at home couldn't help but feel somewhat deflated about the draw.

Voss could sympathise, despite his enthusiasm for the Blues' performance overall. He said there were several split-second moments that the club would be paying attention to before their round two clash with Geelong.

“There’s a lot in it to be proud of, to be honest. And then there’s some other parts where you’re just sort of like, ‘gee, I wish I had that back’,” Voss said. “From a situation of a draw, you probably walk away and think well we should have won that, but we would have had to win a completely different way from what we’ve been used to.

“We touched on that with the playing group at the end … that’s something to like, a big like, because we’ve gone to work on a lot of aspects of our game.”

Carlton coach Michael Voss keen on extra time

It was Voss's second draw as a coach but first with the Blues, following a 2009 tie when he was at the helm of the Brisbane Lions against Essendon. The 47-year-old also played in two draws during a decorated 289-game career with Brisbane.

"I haven't given it a second thought but I must admit I wouldn't mind the extra three or four minutes each way," Voss told reporters after Thursday night's draw. "I have given that zero thought ... but it does feel like the game should continue.

"But that's what we play, so we'll stick to it."

Carlton and Richmond players react after the final siren.
The Tigers and Blues were tied at the siren for the first time since 1972 in the AFL season opener. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Richmond have now been involved in the three most recent AFL draws, following ties with Fremantle (2022) and Hawthorn (2021) in recent seasons.

After the Tigers-Dockers draw last July, Richmond's Hardwick called for drawn games to continue until one team scores to break the deadlock. He has since wound back his view.

"I suppose it is what it is. I'm not too fussed either way," Hardwick told reporters after Thursday night's match.

"From a finals point of view or whatever it is, it's probably a little bit different, but I'm not too worried. Smarter men than me will figure that out."

With AAP

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