MATTHEW RICHARDSON’S TOP 10: Playing at the MCG is only way to bring down the Sydney Swans this AFL season

MATTHEW RICHARDSON
The Nightly
The three-time Richmond premiership captain knows Martin as well as anyone.

1. Dustin Martin arrived at Richmond at the end of 2009 as pick three in that year’s national draft, along with new coach Damien Hardwick and CEO in Brendon Gale.

Richmond had just finished 15th out of 16 and were rebuilding. Two hundred and ninety-nine games later Dusty runs out against Hawthorn on Saturday afternoon at the MCG to become the seventh Tiger to play 300 games. Along the way he has won three premierships and three Norm Smith medals. He has transformed the club and will retire as arguably being Richmond’s greatest player. The Tiger army salutes you Dusty. Get to the ‘G, nothing is keeping me from being there.

2. Bit more on Dusty.

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Watch his four goals from the 2020 AFL grand final against the Cats. Everyone of those came at precisely the time a goal was needed. He won the Tigers that premiership. In fact, without him the Tigers wouldn’t have won any of those flags. What a big-game player he is. Always produces when it counts most.

3. If he wants to finish his career elsewhere no Tiger supporter should begrudge him for it. We are grateful.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 13: Dustin Martin of the Tigers is seen during a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Punt Road Oval on June 13, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Martin Keep/Getty Images)
Dustin Martin training on Thursday. Credit: Martin Keep/Getty Images

4. A few weeks ago I wrote about every team needing a player that can execute a hard tag.

With the season on the line for Brisbane against the Bulldogs last Friday there was a simple objective - stop Marcus Bontempelli. Enter Jarryd Berry. He shut down the in-form superstar in the first half. The Lions won and kept their season alive.

5. Could the Lions do a Carlton or GWS of 2023 and come from five wins at same stage during the season to go deep into the finals?

The odds are against them. But as my premiership-winning pick I’m backing a run from last year’s grand finalists. There are good signs from Eric Hipwood up front. I thought he competed harder than at any point in his career last week and was reward with six goals.

6. Luke Beveridge said last week it’s becoming “risky now and a concern” if the ball-winner isn’t looked after.

This was in reference to the new holding-the-ball interpretation. I agree, when it becomes more advantageous to not take possession of the ball in our game we have a problem. Look after the ball winner.

7. How good is country football?

I was lucky to pop up to Wangaratta Magpies FC last Saturday. I had a chat at the pre-game function with my old teammate Chris Naish who is helping out as an assistant coach in his hometown. Former Collingwood star Ben Reid is coaching and the club is going well. The netball team is flying with volunteers everywhere. There’s nothing better than grass roots sport.

8. So it’s clear Sydney are the best team by a fair way at the moment.

It’s Flemington straight type stuff. The question was raised after their 30-point win over a competitive Geelong, what is their weakness? I could not come up with anything The No.1 attack and defence, while their goal kicking and midfield is impossible to fault. Then it dawned on me .., it’s the MCG! They won’t play there again until September after having beaten Collingwood at the MCG then losing to the 17th placed Tigers and winning against Hawks. Horse would love a test at the ‘G before the finals.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 09: Errol Gulden of the Swans celebrates kicking a goal with team mates during the round 13 AFL match between Sydney Swans and Geelong Cats at SCG, on June 09, 2024, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)
Errol Gulden celebrates kicking a goal with teammates against Geelong. Credit: Brendon Thorne/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

9. Big Freeze 10 is complete and with $100 million raised.

Neale Daniher is a true hero.

10. At home the question I’m asking myself is, go grey gracefully or time for some boot polish?

Why you ask. Simple, one of my daughters asked the question why my hair was changing colour. The truth hurts.

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