Richmond fire to end Geelong's AFL winning streak
A combined seven goals from Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin have helped Richmond ignite their AFL season with a 24-point upset win over Geelong.
The Tigers booted six majors in their best first-quarter return of the year and held the Cats at bay to post a 16.6 (102) to 11.12 (78) victory at the MCG on Friday night.
After a horror start to the campaign, which led many critics to declare the Richmond flag dynasty over, the Tigers (3-1-5) have now won consecutive games for the first time in 2023.
But the latest triumph came at a cost, with midfielder Jacob Hopper substituted out of the game with a left calf muscle injury during the third quarter.
Cotchin returned after a week out of the Tigers' side and kicked three goals in his biggest tally in seven years, while Martin finished with four majors from 19 touches.
"They've been threatening for a little while and things started to click a little bit," Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said.
"Dustin got the scoreboard reward today that he hasn't had for games previous, and Trent was the same.
"His two first-quarter goals were really special.
"What both those players do is just little touches that make the players around them better and that's the measure of a quality player for mine."
Tim Taranto starred with game-high tallies of 28 disposals, 12 tackles and six clearances as Jayden Short (26 touches), Liam Baker (21) and Daniel Rioli (23) got their hands dirty.
Dion Prestia celebrated his 200th game with 19 disposals and a goal, and Jack Riewoldt and Rhyan Mansell booted two each.
Tom Stewart was jeered by a contingent of Tigers fans in the 58,141-strong crowd still angry about the Geelong star flattening Dion Prestia in an ugly incident 11 months ago.
The Cats' stand-in captain stepped up in the absence of injured skipper Patrick Dangerfield and had 24 disposals in a solid display.
But Geelong lacked spark, with Dangerfield one of eight 2022 premiership players missing through injury or suspension, and suffered their first defeat since round three.
Cats coach Chris Scott projected a positive outlook despite the result and took heart from glimpses of potential he saw from some of his younger players, including debutant Jhye Clark.
But he was left ruing missed opportunities as Geelong let themselves down with poor execution, particularly forward of centre, in their first defeat since round three.
"The numbers would suggest that we had more than our fair share of opportunities to put them under pressure," Scott said.
Cats spearhead Tom Hawkins kicked three majors and had two goal assists in a tough battle with Richmond defender Noah Balta (17 touches, 11 intercepts).
Balta was one of the Tigers' best, as was Nathan Broad, who restricted Coleman Medal leader Jeremy Cameron to just one goal late in the contest.
Friday night's result was Richmond's first win over the Cats since the 2020 grand final.