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How Richmond did the seemingly 'impossible'

Round 4: Match highlights Highlights of the Round 4 win over Port Adelaide.

HOW DID Richmond pull off the impossible?

It would've been ridiculous at the start of the season to think the Tigers – expected to give the 2019 premiership a serious shake – would start massive outsiders to travel to Adelaide and beat a Port Adelaide side that has shown glimpses of quality, but has yet to string it together consistently.

Then again, no-one counted on the 2017 premiers being without their four big guns for the round four encounter.

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No Dustin Martin + no Trent Cotchin + no Jack Riewoldt + no Alex Rance = a Tigers defeat.

Or so we thought.

The equation many footy mathematicians had in their consideration didn't factor in a gun recruit, under-rated veterans standing up and youngsters rising to the occasion.

The seven-point, 15.9 (99) to 14.8 (92) win against the Power on Saturday night was a mighty victory, the type a season can be built around.

"Our backs have been up against the wall, we've had a couple of tough weeks and we were missing some key players, but it's more about role playing," Tigers midfielder Kane Lambert told AFL.com.au.

"We set great foundations over the past few years in terms of how we want each other to play when we come in, and I thought we had some fantastic performances across the board.

"I don't think we ever lost belief, but wins like this - on the road against a quality opposition - it's real team-building sort of stuff."

The absence of the big four – Brownlow Medallists Martin and captain Cotchin, key forward Riewoldt and five-time All Australian defender Rance – has left holes in every part of the field.

Even without Martin and Cotchin to win the ball out of the middle, the Tigers won the clearances 30-24.

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Ruckman Toby Nankervis was central to that with five, but Lambert, Dion Prestia and debutant Jack Ross all had four each.

Ross had a night to remember.

The 43rd pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft, the 18-year-old looked like he was made for the big stage, racking up 25 disposals, with eight of those contested.

Liam Baker (fourth game), Shai Bolton (10th) and Sydney Stack (second) all had moments where they contributed.

Baker's kick to hit-up Lynch for his sixth goal to seal the victory was magic.

Lynch carried the attack in Riewoldt's absence, showing why the Tigers signed him to a seven-year deal.

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Defender Dylan Grimes had the best eight-disposal game you'd see. His efforts in the last quarter were superb.

"He won the match for us, really," Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said.

Josh Caddy was dynamic in his first game for the season, kicking three goals including a classy toe-poke effort with an assist to Lynch.

Even when they weren't kicking straight, the Tigers never relented and never gave in.

"If no-one thinks you can win, there's some element of underdog you look at," Hardwick said.

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"It's the ability for our guys to take that and play with the intent they did.

"Talk is really cheap and our guys value action, and that's what they delivered tonight."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs