RICHMOND has knocked out Port Adelaide by six points in their preliminary final slugfest to advance to a third AFL grand final in four seasons.
The Tigers, with trump card Dustin Martin kicking two goals, prevailed 6.10 (46) to 6.4 (40) in a rain-soaked clash at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
Richmond will shoot for a third premiership since in four seasons against the winner of Brisbane’s bout against Geelong next week.
Martin’s influence loomed large with a team-high 21 disposals while Tigers teammate Kane Lambert emerged as an unlikely hero with two last-quarter goals.
Lambert’s strikes tipped the balance in a see-saw scrap – the margin was never greater than 11 points.
Dion Prestia (19 touches), Bachar Houli (15 disposals) and Trent Cotchin (17 possesions) were also prominent for Richmond.
The Power fell agonisingly short of reaching their first grand final since 2007 despite gallantry from Xavier Duursma (19 disposals, one goal) Ollie Wines (24 disposals) and Dan Houston (22 touches).
Their stalwart Brad Ebert’s solid 19-disposal display ended in yet another concussion which could be career-threatening.
Port’s Peter Ladhams was reported during a frenetic opening quarter, with the ruckman punching Richmond’s Noah Balta in the stomach, though the force is unlikely to warrant a suspension.
Port led by two points at quarter-time before Connor Rozee increased the buffer to seven points with a classy snap early in the second stanza.
But Richmond’s ace Martin replied with a 40m set-shot some 10 minutes into the term as the visitors drew level.
Scores were locked at 21-all at halftime though Port held statistical dominance with the top eight ball-winners on the ground, headed by Wines’ 14 touches, 10 more inside 50s and 14 more contested possessions.
The third term followed to script: both teams mustered a goal each – through Richmond’s Tom Lynch and Power ruckman Scott Lycett.
The Tigers led 4.6 to 4.4 at three quarter-time, despite having 41 fewer disposals.
That advantage disappeared three minutes into the last quarter when Port spearhead Charlie Dixon bombed a 50m goal to give his side a three-point lead.
Richmond’s Lambert then slotted two clutch goals in six minutes as the visitors crept to 10 points up before Port’s Ladhams converted to drag the Power within four points.
Neither team could find another goal in the remaining nerve-jangling 10 minutes with the Tigers mustering the final two behinds.
(C) AAP 2020
RICHMOND 2.1 3.3 4.6 6.10 (46)
PORT ADELAIDE 2.3 3.3 4.4 6.4 (40)
Goals: Richmond: D Martin 2 K Lambert 2 J Riewoldt T Lynch. Port Adelaide: C Rozee 2 C Dixon P Ladhams S Lycett X Duursma.
Umpires: Matt Stevic, Simon Meredith, Curtis Deboy.
Venue: Adelaide Oval.