Baker's brilliance leads Tigers to AFL win

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Liam Baker's brilliance unwittingly sparked the concussion controversy that is the major talking point from Richmond's hard-fought AFL win over Port Adelaide.

The star Tigers utility also boosted his bargaining hand in contract negotiations with a best-afield performance.

Baker proved the difference on Thursday night, kicking a goal in the last quarter when he was moved into attack and racking up a team-high 26 disposals in their 12-point win.

Port players Tom Jonas and Zak Butters tried to tackle Baker in the final term, but he masterfully evaded them and they smashed into each other instead.

Moments after their collision, Baker set up Dustin Martin for a goal.

Just as Port's decision not to put Jonas and Butters through concussion protocols after their head clash was the big controversy out of the game, Baker was the standout player.

"(Assistant coach) David Teague said a really good comment - you want one on each line," coach Damien Hardwick said of Baker.

"He's just such an important player. He's out of contract, too, so he's not helping us.

'He's a wonderful player. He's a guy that you love to coach, because you wind him up and off he goes.

"His last quarter was pretty special."

At 173cm, Baker is one of the AFL's shortest players, but just like new teammate Judson Clarke and Caleb Daniel of the Western Bulldogs, he proves height isn't everything.

"We look at his size, but what we don't see is the enormous heart of the kid.

"Our recruiters saw something, they knew this kid deserved to play AFL and what we've seen with guys who are short of stature, they can play the game," Hardwick said.

The win put Richmond back in the top eight with a 7-5 record and sets up a massive game next week against Carlton.

Tigers key forward Tom Lynch will return from injury and Kane Lambert, who returned as the medical sub against Port, should also be available despite his ongoing struggles with a hip problem.

In his 200th game, co-captain Dylan Grimes starred with a strong game on Port star Robbie Gray.

Debutant Judson Clarke had a dream debut - his first AFL kick was a goal - and a few moments later, he put through another.

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