It’s taken just two weeks for Dustin Martin to roar back to form, the Brownlow Medallist showcasing his class on Saturday afternoon as Richmond triumphed Hawthorn by 23 points.
However, it wasn’t without a fright, as the Hawks kicked four quick last quarter goals in a show of fight from the young club.
Martin returned in Round 8 after seven weeks on the sidelines and showed flashes of brilliance in his first game back.
But coming back to the MCG to take on the Hawks in Round 9, Martin played an influential hand and got better as the game went on in the 117-94 win.
It echoed the way the contest played out. Hawthorn started well and wrestled the momentum in the first half, but Richmond took it back to largely control the majority of the final three terms.
That’s except for a ten-minute blitz in the final term, where Hawthorn cut more than a five-goal margin back to just two kicks in an enthralling battle.
However, the contest was soured by the knowledge both clubs will be sweating on injuries to key pillars.
Jack Gunston went down with an ankle injury on the quarter-time siren and the injury showed as the game progressed, Hawthorn kicking just two goals after half time barring the short blitz in the final term.
Meanwhile, Noah Balta was taken off at three quarter time and spent the rest of the game on the bench with an iced hamstring.
Martin split his time between the midfield and forward line and delivered the moment of the match with a remarkable snap from the pocket in the third term that handed the Tigers a three-goal lead.
He also gave them a then game-high 26-point lead early in the last term when slotting his third major, and he eventually finished with 20 possessions and four clearances along with his scoreboard influence.
The Tigers had their work questioned without the footy by North Melbourne great David King during the week, however Damien Hardwick’s men responded emphatically with an impressive defensive effort.
Despite recording more disposals (337-378), Richmond smashed the tackle count, laying some 75 compared to Hawthorn’s 54.
Their highest count of the year was previously 53, set back in Round 3, and the Tigers are now starting to show some of the traits of their dominance during their recent premiership run.
Tom Lynch was another Tiger who hit his straps on Saturday afternoon, kicking four goals in a performance that may well increase his lead at the top of the Coleman Medal leader board.
For the Hawks, James Sicily recorded 24 disposals, (23 kicks) and provided drive out of the backline all day, however he was often outclassed by Lynch in the air.
Richmond are now a win and percentage inside the top eight and will look to further bolster their stocks when taking on Essendon in a mouth-watering clash next week.
Hawthorn: 4.4, 8.5, 9.8, 14.10. (94)
Richmond: 3.3, 9.5, 12.9, 17.15. (117)
Hawthorn: Lewis 3, Breust 3, Koschitzke 2, O’Meara, Lynch, Gunston, Worpel
Richmond: Lynch 4, Martin 3, Riewoldt 3, Bolton 2, Soldo 2, Nankervis, Graham, Castagna
Hawthorn: Sicily, Impey, Koschitzke, O’Meara, Nash
Richmond: Martin, Lynch, Bolton, Nankervis, Baker
Hawthorn: Gunstone (Ankle)
Richmond: Balta (Hamstring)