Premiers Richmond are true AFL believers

Richmond never stopped believing in their grand final even when Geelong had the upper hand early.
Richmond never stopped believing in their grand final even when Geelong had the upper hand early.

For all the physical feats, this AFLgrand final was a mind game.

Richmond, the reigning champs, never stopped believing. Their unrivalled grand-final hero Dusty Martin ensured that.

Geelong, the contenders, couldn't believe it: they were 22 points up late in the second quarter and travelling like winners.

From that point, the Cats scored just 15 more points for the game while Richmond scored 68 more.

How did such a drastic turnaround happen?

Geelong had the proverbial blowtorch turned on the Tigers.

The Cats had just kicked 5.3 to nothing, recorded 10 consecutive inside 50s, and led by 22 points in the 19th minute of the second quarter.

All of Geelong's plans were working.

Their midfield, led by a dominant Mitch Duncan, was in control at the clearances - at halftime they led that statistic by five and contested possessions by 11.

Their defence was supreme, with Tom Stewart influential, while the Tigers' twin towers Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt were unsighted.

And entering attack, Geelong deployed a shrewd game plan which eradicated Richmond's intercept marking strength: the Cats kicked short and banned the long bomb.

Geelong's pressure was suffocating Richmond, who were gasping for a breather. Enter Martin.

With less than 80 seconds remaining before halftime, the champion snapped a stunning goal which moved the Tigers within 15 points but, vitally, reignited their belief.

The tide had turned. And Richmond rode the wave to a third flag in four seasons.

The Tigers proved why the third quarter is dubbed as 'the premiership quarter' with four goals to one.

During the blitz, Richmond recorded its own streak of 10 consecutive inside 50s and it was trademark Tigers: manic pressure, relentless forward ball movement - often scrappy, but effective.

Richmond players who had been missing in action suddenly bobbed up and hit the scoreboard - Riewoldt, Jason Castagna and Kane Lambert all goalled.

From 15 points down at halftime, the Tigers took a two-point lead, massive momentum and unyielding belief into three quarter-time.

Richmond players sensed it. And so did Geelong. The Tiges streeted to the premiership with 5.5 to one lone goal in the last term.

Australian Associated Press