Australian Rules-Martin magic fires Tigers to back-to-back AFL titles

Dustin Martin booted four goals in a Grand Final masterclass to fire Richmond to a 31-point win over the Geelong Cats in Brisbane on Saturday as the Tigers secured back-to-back Australian Football League titles.

Tigers talisman Martin racked up 21 disposals as Richmond rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit before crushing the Cats with five goals in the final quarter in front of 30,000 spectators at the Gabba.

Winners in 2017 and 2019, the Melbourne-based Tigers have now claimed three of the last four premierships in the top flight of Australian Rules, a rich dividend for fans who passed a barren 37-year stretch after their 1980 title.

“It’s been an incredible year,” Tigers captain Trent Cotchin said.

“Full credit to Geelong … They challenged us but credit to our boys. They just continue to show a resilience that we know they can.”

Martin claimed a record third Norm Smith medal as best-on-ground in a Grand Final, having won the accolade in 2017 and 2019.

The AFL decider, delayed by a month due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, was the first held outside Melbourne in the league’s history and also the first staged at night.

It was the first time two teams from the AFL’s heartland state of Victoria had met in a Grand Final since the Cats defeated the Collingwood Magpies in 2011.

But with Melbourne still under lockdown and Victorians barred from leaving the state due to the pandemic, home fans were forced to watch the match on devices in their living rooms. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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