In a season-defining clash that had fans on the edge of their seats, Port Adelaide emerged victorious over Richmond, locking in their third-place finish on the AFL ladder. The 31-point win sets the stage for a tantalizing Qualifying Final against Brisbane at the Gabba. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; there’s plenty to dissect from this high-stakes encounter.
AFL Score Round 24
|Home Team||Away Team||Ground||Date|
|Essendon||0.2||2.4||2.1||3.13||||lost to||Collingwood||8.1||12.2||14.3||16.5||||Melbourne Cricket Ground||Aug 25 (Fri 7:50pm)|
|Hawthorn||2||4.1||7.4||8.8||||lost to||Fremantle||3.4||8.6||11.8||14.9||||Melbourne Cricket Ground||Aug 26 (Sat 1:45pm)|
|North Melbourne||2.3||7.6||13.7||20.12||||dftd||Gold Coast||4.2||8.6||10.9||14.13||||Blundstone Arena||Aug 26 (Sat 1:45pm)|
|Brisbane Lions||2.8||4.11||7.11||9.18||||dftd||St Kilda||3.1||3.3||7.5||9.6||||Gabba||Aug 26 (Sat 4:35pm)|
|Geelong||2.5||7.11||10.13||11.13||||lost to||Western Bulldogs||3.1||6.2||10.5||16.8||||Simonds Stadium||Aug 26 (Sat 7:25pm)|
|West Coast||3.1||8.3||12.4||12.6||||lost to||Adelaide||4.5||5.1||11.17||17.21||||Optus Stadium||Aug 26 (Sat 8:10pm)|
|Port Adelaide||4.3||6.7||8.13||13.16||||dftd||Richmond||3.4||5.11||7.13||8.15||||Adelaide Oval||Aug 27 (Sun 12:30pm)|
|Sydney||2.5||3.8||7.12||7.14||||lost to||Melbourne||3.2||5.4||7.8||11.11||||Sydney Cricket Ground||Aug 27 (Sun 3:20pm)|
|Carlton||4.3||7.5||9.5||11.7||||lost to||GWS Giants||3.2||8.4||13.7||16.9||||Marvel Stadium||Aug 27 (Sun 6:10pm)|
Firstly, let’s talk about the man of the hour, Dustin Martin. Despite Richmond’s season-ending loss, Dusty put on a clinic. With a game-high 33 disposals and a clutch goal in the fourth quarter, he reminded everyone why he’s one of the modern greats. Is he All-Australian material this year? You’d be hard-pressed to argue against it.
Switching gears, let’s delve into the tactical masterstroke by Richmond’s interim coach, Andrew McQualter. Noah Balta was assigned a shutdown role on Aliir Aliir, effectively neutralizing the Port Adelaide defender’s impact—at least for the first half. Aliir did manage to break free later in the game, but the tactic certainly added an intriguing subplot to the contest.
Injuries also played their part. Maurice Rioli’s hamstring injury forced him to be subbed out in the third quarter, a blow for the Tigers who were already under the pump. It’s these little moments that can change the course of a game, and unfortunately for Richmond, this was one of them.
Now, let’s talk numbers. Port Adelaide’s efficiency inside the 50 was a key factor in their win. Dermott Brereton, the Hawks legend, pointed out that this is a ‘concern’ Port needs to address before the finals. With Richmond racking up inside 50s, Port’s ability to capitalize on their fewer opportunities was crucial. Efficiency could be the name of the game as we head into the finals.
Speaking of finals, Port Adelaide is set to regain some heavy artillery. Forward stars Charlie Dixon and Todd Marshall, along with No. 1 ruckman Scott Lycett, are expected to return, bolstering an already formidable lineup. The Power are gearing up for a deep finals run, and they’ve got the personnel to make it happen.
Lastly, it’s the end of an era for Richmond. The Tigers finished the season in 13th place, signaling a new chapter for the club. With the mid-season departure of long-time coach Damien Hardwick and the retirements of club legends Jack Riewoldt and Trent Cotchin, change is in the air at Punt Road.
In summary, this clash was more than just a game; it was a microcosm of the AFL season itself—filled with tactical nuances, standout performances, and season-defining moments. As Port Adelaide marches on to the finals, Richmond is left to ponder what could have been. One thing’s for sure: the road to the Grand Final just got a whole lot more interesting.