Brisbane just showed every other team how to stop Dustin Martin.
Some unique tactics made sure the best player in the AFL was shut down during the Lions’ 15.12 (102) to 11.8 (74) win over Richmond on Friday night, in a way other sides will be hoping to emulate for the rest of the season.
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Dusty’s famous “don’t argue” is one of the best sights in footy. Winning a ball in congestion, the 29-year-old is able to muscle his way out of a pack by fending off hapless defenders who often end up on their backside after going in for a tackle.
But on Friday night, that trusty fend didn’t work so well.
Midway through the second quarter Martin tried to run through Mitch Robinson, but the Brisbane hard nut had other ideas. He jumped up off his feet to get above an incoming fend, then wrapped his Richmond rival up in a bear hug and won a free kick for holding the ball, that led to a goal.
“He just lets Dusty know, ‘You’re not stepping by me’,” James Brayshaw said in commentary.
“I reckon Dusty looks up and sees 99 per cent of footballers and thinks, ‘I’m taking that on’, but Mitch Robinson ain’t one of them.”
There was a similar incident early in the third term when Martin received a handball inside defensive 50, and tried to palm off Brisbane’s Jarryd Lyons. However, Lyons chopped down on Martin’s arm to ruin the attempted fend, then wrapped him up ball-and-all to score his team another free kick.
Martin isn’t used to being manhandled like that but the Lions came prepared with some out-of-the-box ideas to neutralise the 2017 Brownlow Medallist’s biggest weapon.
Brisbane came up with a unique way of shutting down Dustin Martin’s famous "don’t argue"….
Brisbane came up with a unique way of shutting down Dustin Martin’s famous "don’t argue".
Lions underline premiership credentials
With midfielders Hugh McCluggage, Dayne Zorko and Lyons along with forwards Eric Hipwood and Zac Bailey leading the charge for the home side, the Lions registered their sixth-straight win in front of a heaving sellout crowd.
The depleted Tigers fought the good fight as long as they could but Brisbane’s midfield superiority eventually condemned Richmond to a fifth loss in 10 outings in 2021 as their flag defence suffered another blow.
After losing 15 straight matches to the Tigers over an 11-year span, Brisbane has now won its last two encounters with Richmond and the Lions reinforced their place in the top four after recovering from a slow start.
Hipwood and Bailey both kicked their fourth goals of the match in the last term to put the four points on ice. Goals to Lyons and Zorko then got the party started.
Tempers boiled over late when Marlion Pickett hit Brandon Starcevich high, sparking a minor melee with the Tigers utility placed on report.
The contest turned into an arm-wrestle at the start of third quarter when Tom Lynch levelled the scores with a goal but Brisbane then cracked open the game with the next four majors.
Bailey, Irishman Jimmy Madden, Joe Daniher and Rhys Mathieson all hit the scoreboard as the Lions kicked away from the Tigers.
Brisbane led by seven points at halftime after a pulsating opening two quarters with McCluggage at the heart of the Lions’ surge with 18 disposals, 11 contested possessions, three clearances and eight inside 50s to his name.
There was no love lost between the sides.Source:Getty Images
The Tigers started with a ferocious intensity that put Brisbane on the back foot as their defensive pressure and slick ball movement handed them the first three goals of the match and a 19-0 buffer with Jack Riewoldt booting two of the majors.
The Lions slowly but surely worked their way back into the contest after going the first 15 minutes without scoring with Keidean Coleman, Charlie Cameron and Bailey all kicking truly to reduce Richmond’s advantage to just eight points at quarter-time.
The Lions dominated the second term but only cashed-in to a certain extent with four goals to Richmond’s two. Hipwood kicked three of the goals for Brisbane who entered halftime with a clear advantage in inside 50s (37-19), clearances (22-11), contested possessions (84-57) and free kicks won (20-6).
A brilliant handball from Linc McCarthy to Bailey late in the second quarter gave the Lions the lead for the first time on the night.
With Greg Davis, NCA NewsWire
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