Incredible scenes as Richmond smash 37-year drought

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Richmond have broken their 37-year AFL premiership drought, belting Adelaide by 48 points in the grand final.

After a nervous start, the Tigers kept the Crows goalless in the second term and overran them after halftime to win 16.12 (108) to 8.12 (60) in front of 100,021 fans at the MCG on Saturday.

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It is Richmond's 11th premiership and comes just 12 months after they missed out on finals football.

Tiger time! Image: Getty
Tiger time! Image: Getty

"Who would have thought we finished 13th last year, beaten by (113) points in the last round and now we're f***ing premiers," Tigers forward Jack Riewoldt told Channel Seven.

Richmond on-baller Dustin Martin was voted the Norm Smith Medallist as best afield, becoming the first player to win the award, win a premiership and the Brownlow Medal in the same season.

"I honestly cannot believe it. This is a dream come true," Martin said.

"This is the best thing in the world mate. I'm proud of each and every player that played today."

Absolute euphoria. Image: Getty
Absolute euphoria. Image: Getty

Defenders Alex Rance and Bachar Houli were also outstanding, while teenager Jack Graham starred with three goals in just his fifth AFL match.

Adelaide started favourites and the popular thinking was that if it became a one-sided game, the Crows would prove too good.

Instead Richmond rallied superbly and used their relentless pressure to take the game away from the Crows.

The signs were excellent early for the Crows, with opening goals to Rory Sloane and Eddie Betts in the first five minutes.

Tigers key forward Jack Riewoldt then kicked three behinds, adding to their worries.

But Richmond steadied with goals to Josh Caddy and Houli, before Sloane kicked his second and the Crows had an 11-point lead at the first change.

Slowly, but surely, the Tigers then took control.

Rance's spoil on Taylor Walker four minutes into the second term gave Richmond possession and Riewoldt soon marked at the other end.

Riewoldt kicked his first goal from an acute angle, the Crows could not respond and the Tigers ramped up the pressure.

Richmond kicked the only four goals of the second term to take a nine-point lead at the main break.

It was the first time in their 36 matches that Richmond had kept Adelaide goalless for a quarter.

Martin was now dominating and Trent Cotchin was a battering ram at the stoppages.

Adding to the Crows' dramas, Luke Brown (knee) and Hugh Greenwood (calf) were among hurt players.

Richmond kicked the opening three goals of the third term and the dam wall was creaking for the Crows.

Adelaide captain Walker replied at 14 minutes, their first goal since the 26-minute mark of the opening term, but it was their only major of the third quarter.

Graham, the youngest player in the match, kicked two goals in the third term.

Even more importantly, he quelled Sloane's influence after the Adelaide vice-captain's influential start.

Rory Atkins and Josh Jenkins missed gettable shots late in the term that would have given Adelaide hope.

Instead, Richmond kicked the opening two goals of the last quarter and it was time to party.


THE STORY: Adelaide began cleaner but Richmond simply fought, and fought, and fought. Damien Hardwick's side smashed their opponents around the ball, were dominant in defence and relentless inside 50. A run of seven-straight goals after quarter-time put the game on the Tigers' terms

THE GOAL: With clean hands, Shane Edwards dished off to Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin in the second quarter, who found the youngest man on the ground, Jack Graham. The 19-year-old put Richmond in front where they'd stay all afternoon, finishing with three goals in just his fifth senior game

THE MOMENT: The Tigers entered the fourth term 34 points up, but plenty of nerves remained. Jack Riewoldt's soaring mark and goal to begin the quarter put Richmond 40 points up and began the Tiger party

THE STARS: Dustin Martin won the Norm Smith Medal for a lion-hearted performance around the ball, claiming 21 contested possessions and kicking two goals. But Alex Rance was imperious in defence. The All Australian captain produced an all-action effort at the heart of the Tiger backline, giving no inch and subduing the much-vaunted Adelaide attacking threat.

THE QUOTE: "Who would have thought we finished 13th last year, beaten by (113) points in the last round and now we're f**king premiers," Riewoldt sums up Richmond's rise from frogs to princes

THE STATS: Richmond's first premiership in 37 years came after a 13th-placed finish last season - the biggest jump-up in AFL history. Adelaide went goalless in a quarter against the Tigers for the first time in the second term

THE INJURIES: How costly were a string of Adelaide complaints? Charlie Cameron was clearly hampered early by a calf issue. Jake Kelly (hamstring), Josh Jenkins (ribs), Hugh Greenwood (calf) and Luke Brown (knee) were hurt in the second term

WHAT'S NEXT: A party on Punt Road that could last all summer and, for Adelaide, a flight to South Australia that's never felt longer. Trade period starts on Monday October 9, the draft is on November 24 and Richmond will play Carlton on Thursday March 22 to begin the 2018 AFL season

with AAP

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