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Tigers win through to Grand Final

PF: Butler delivers a Grand Final berth The sealer for the delirious Tigers as Dan Butler goals.
Dan Butler celebrates one of his two final quarter goal on Saturday evening - Richmond Tigers,Grand Final,AFL
Dan Butler celebrates one of his two final quarter goal on Saturday evening

RICHMOND is into its first Grand Final in 35 years after overrunning GWS with a 10-goal-to-four second half, to seal a 36-point triumph that sparked nearly all of the 94,258 at the MCG into a frenzy that is sure to last for at least another week and, possibly, all summer.

After leading by just one point at half-time on Saturday, the Tigers turned the game on its head in the third term, with a six-goal-to-one burst that put them 31 points up at three-quarter-time.

And when Dustin Martin goaled little more than a minute into the final term – his third consecutive major – the game was effectively over, with Richmond then able to cruise to a 15.13 (103) to 9.13 (67) win.

Martin (20 possessions and three goals) capped his stellar season with another star turn and next week will turn his attention to helping the Tigers break a 37-year premiership drought when they take on Adelaide in the Grand Final.

Daniel Rioli also starred with four goals, while Trent Cotchin was as influential as any Tiger on the ground, leading his team in possessions (26), clearances (seven) and tackles (nine).

The Tigers’ captain could, however, face the attention of the Match Review Panel after Cotchin laid a bump on Dylan Shiel.

Even if Cotchin escapes with a fine, he would be ruled out of the Grand Final given he has already incurred two fines for low-level striking offences this season.

The MCG crowd was one of the most one-sided in memory, with only orange visible often the high-vis vests of the ground's security officers.

Loud and proud all game – as only Richmond crowds can be – its roar grew and grew in intensity as the Tigers took control in the second half, with its vociferous support seeming to energise Damien Hardwick's men.

Alex Rance (16 possessions, seven marks and five rebound 50s) controlled the air inside the GWS forward 50, while fellow key defender David Astbury took on the big job of minding Jonathon Patton and held him to one last-quarter goal.

Dion Prestia (22 possessions and six tackles) and Kane Lambert (23 possessions and seven inside 50s) were also standouts in a Tiger midfield brigade that ran the Giants off their feet.

GWS fell at the penultimate hurdle for the second consecutive year, but this loss was decided a lot earlier than last year's devastating six-point defeat by the Western Bulldogs.

Co-captain Callan Ward (25 possessions and three goals) led the way for this team, while his counterpart Phil Davis played his part, holding Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt to one late goal. 

Harrison Himmelberg (four goals) provided a strong target in attack, while Jacob Hopper (28 possessions and five clearances), Josh Kelly (28 possesions and eight tackles) and Tom Scully (25 possessions and six inside 50s) provided some resistance in the midfield, and Adam Tomlinson (26 possessions) tried to generate some run from defence.

Richmond: Key defender David Astbury (right shoulder) and Kane Lambert (foot) went into the rooms at quarter-time for assessment, but both returned to the field early in the second quarter.

RICHMOND                                   4.3    5.7    11.11    15.13 (103)
GWS                                              3.3    5.6    6.10       9.13 (67)

Rioli 4, Martin 3, Butler 2, Lambert, Caddy, Castagna, Townsend, Edwards, Riewoldt
GWS: Himmelberg 4, Ward 3, Kelly, Patton 

Cotchin, Rioli, Martin, Grimes, Rance, Lambert, Prestia
GWS: Ward, Kelly, Tomlinson, Scully, Davis, Himmelberg 

GWS: Dylan Shiel (concussion) 

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Nicholls, Meredith, Ryan

Official crowd: 94,258 at the MCG