A draw. It’s unbelievable.
The pulsating crowd of over 88,000 fans on Thursday night at the MCG were left stunned as Tom Lynch’s late goal ensured both Richmond and Carlton leave the home of footy with two points each following a 8.10 (58) stalemate on opening night.
“I don’t know what to make of it,” Gerard Whateley said on AFL Nation.
“The crowd are flat,” Dermott Brereton continued.
Just as Carlton needed a spark in the final term, up stepped inspirational defender Sam Docherty who kicked the most unlikely of goals from outside 50 to haul his side back into the lead.
It was then Charlie Curnow who flung a boot out and kicked a miraculous goal minutes after Docherty’s brilliance.
Richmond made their move early in the third term following a mostly benign first half, kicking three consecutive goals to take the lead as Daniel Rioli provided the spark off half back.
On a night where both Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow were well beaten early, it was the latter who sensed the moment as the intensity rose, kicking two crucial third-quarter goals to settle Carlton as Richmond surged.
Michael Voss’ side looked to stretch a Tigers defensive unit missing both Robbie Tarrant and Josh Gibcus early.
It was a point which Brereton made early in the contest, as the battle of styles continued to play out.
“The only time Carlton have look threatened is when they’ve had the ball in movement,” he said on AFL Nation.
“When (Carlton) has tried to methodically move it forward, Richmond has dispossessed them in their defensive half.”
But after a quick start, the game settled down into a typical early-season scrap as both Carlton and Richmond struggled to hit the scoreboard with the efficiency they would’ve been hoping for.
Two new Tigers recruits prove their worth
Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper were two of the most high-profile names to move clubs in the off-season, both landing at Punt Rd as the Tigers beefed up their midfield stocks.
Coming into Thursday night, plenty of eyes were on how they’d both perform for their new club.
Taranto was one of his side’s best, finding the footy on 19 occasions in the first half and had 32 touches overall.
Hopper was quieter, drifting in and out of the match in his first outing in the yellow and black.
High marking makes triumphant return
We may only be one game into the new season, but already there’s two mark of the year contenders in the books.
Jack Silvagni flew high into the Melbourne night sky in the first term, before Shai Bolton elevated even higher over Tom De Koning and Toby Nankervis in a pure display of high marking skills.
Footy is well and truly back.
Fast start at the ‘G in the season-opener
It’s as if the opening minutes of the fresh season simply picked up where we left off last year, with Dustin Martin and then Zac Fisher on the scoreboard before 120 seconds had elapsed.
Much has been made of Martin’s role shift this year and he wasted no time asserting himself as a threat as the ball hit the ground, as Mitch McGovern battled to curtailed the three-time Norm Smith Medallist all evening.
The game slowly morphed into a low-scoring scrap more associated with footy in March, but nonetheless the opening exchanges were a reminder of what could be to come later this season from both these sides.
Richmond: 1.4, 2.4, 7.8, 8.10 (58)
Carlton: 3.1, 4.6, 6.9, 8.10 (58)
Richmond: Lynch 3, Rioli 2, Bolton, Martin, Riewoldt
Carlton: Curnow 3, McKay, Owies, Docherty, Fisher, Sivagni
Richmond: Lynch, Taranto, Rioli, Prestia, Martin,
Carlton: Curnow, Hewett, Cripps, Docherty
CROWD: 88,084 at the MCG.