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First quarter carnage
Gary Ablett, in his first contest, is tackled by Trent Cotchin and lands hard on his elbow, pushing his left shoulder up awkwardly. He's got bad form for injuries on that shoulder and comes off the field in significant discomfort in his final game. Seconds later, Patrick Dangerfield tries to punch the ball and on the follow through he elbows Nick Vlastuin in the face. He is taken off on a stretcher and doesn't return.
The rise of the Little Master
Ablett retreated to the rooms underneath the Gabba and emerged minutes later with his shoulder strapped. He did some sprints and touch drills before coming back onto the field. The first test of the injury came quickly, as he followed Kane Lambert to the ball and tackled him to the ground. Early in the second term he was tackled by Marlion Pickett but got straight up. Playing through pain, probably aided by painkillers, Ablett was not going to end his career on the sidelines. His shoulder was too sore to high five a teammate at one point. He proved he had risen properly though, providing a fantastic quick handball over his back to Joel Selwood to set up a Tom Hawkins goal in the second term. Geelong had dominated but missed chances to that point, but Hawkins' goal meant they'd capitalised.
Martin keep Tigers in it
Geelong had absolutely smothered Richmond in the second term. The ball was almost exclusively in the Tigers' defensive 50, with the Geelong pressure around the ball quite fantastic. Hawkins' aforementioned goal, and goals to Sam Menegola and Dangerfield were costly to the Tigers and it looked as if their defence was struggling without the dependable Vlastuin. But with just under two minutes to play, trailing by 22 points, Dustin Martin's brilliance arrived. He crumbed a ball and held off his defender with a fend off and a strong shake of the hips to kick the Tigers' only goal for the quarter.
Dusty does it again
A long kick hits the top of Richmond's forward 50 and it pops out the back of the back. Ominously, for Geelong, Martin is lurking, and having kicked a goal to keep the Tigers in the game in the second term he is about to kick a second in the third term to give Richmond the lead. With Zach Tuohy right behind him, he swoops on the footy and Tuohy goes to ground, Martin kicking a low banana through the goals from about 35-metres out. It's hard to remember a bigger big-game player than Martin in the past 10 years, and this performance is a reminder of that.
Who else but … Dusty
Sorry to be predictable, but Martin didn't give anyone a choice. The ball is kicked to the edge of the centre square and Martin gets a handball, gathers and steps inside his defender. After doing that, he whacks the ball on his boot from outside 50 while being tackled, with only a fraction of a second to aim at the sticks, and kicks it through the goals after bouncing about 15m from the goal. There's about eight minutes to play but that's the final dagger.
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