AFL The Tigers win an MCG blockbuster against the Magpies to stay on top of the AFL ladder, while the Cats, Giants, Demons and Blues also taste victory. Richmond has stormed clear to win its blockbuster against Collingwood by 28 points and set an AFL record at the MCG. The reigning premiers dominated the last quarter again to beat the Magpies 16.9 (105) to 12.5 (77) in front of 88,180 spectators, giving the Tigers their 18th-straight win at the venue. That beats the league’s previous streak at the grand final venue, set by Melbourne in the 1950s. For three quarters, the clash between the ladder-leading Tigers and the third-placed Magpies lived up to the hype as the match of the season. But injury-plagued Collingwood was down to two fit men on the bench and it told in the final term. The Tigers kicked five goals to one in the last quarter, the 14th time this season they have won the final term. There are fears Collingwood’s Matthew Scharenberg has torn an anterior cruciate ligament, which would mean his third knee reconstruction. Scharenberg needed reconstructions in 2014 and 2015. Collingwood also lost fellow backman Jeremy Howe with concussion. In the past few weeks, Adam Treloar (hamstrings), Linden Dunn (season-ending knee reconstruction) and most recently Jordan De Goey (leg) have all been major injury concerns for Collingwood. The Magpies lost no friends with Saturday’s performance, but eventually ran out of steam. Collingwood ruckman Brodie Grundy was best afield and key defender David Astbury led the way for the Tigers. After a week of intense debate about potential rule changes, Saturday’s pulsating clash will be ammunition for those who say no changes are necessary. Collingwood was in massive trouble when Richmond went on a three-goal run in the opening quarter and led by 19 points at the first break. Jayden Short twice caught the Magpies napping, drifting up from half-back to receive the handball from a teammate and then kicking a massive goal. Adding to the Magpies’ woes, they lost Howe to a head knock late in the first term. Howe was pushed into a marking contest and he collided heavily with teammate Darcy Moore. But Collingwood rallied superbly, kicking five goals to two in the second term and only trailling by eight points at the main break. Tigers star Dustin Martin lost his cool with tagger Levi Greenwood, giving away a 50-metre penalty late in the second term. But Martin had his revenge, going forward and taking a strong mark seconds before the half-time siren. He kicked the goal and slotted another at the start of the third term. Collingwood’s injury woes continued when Scharenberg limped off during the third quarter. Magpies forward Brodie Mihocek was hurt in the second term, but he returned to the game in the third quarter. Richmond onballer Dion Prestia also appeared to be playing sore. Tigers forward Jack Higgins kicked a controversial and extraordinary goal in the third quarter, where he had to run behind one of the goalposts. He threw the ball to himself to keep it in play before kicking over his head, but the umpires let the goal stand. Tom Hawkins has feasted on a lacklustre Brisbane, claiming another seven-goal haul to help Geelong boosted its finals chances with a 42-point win at Kardinia Park. Hawkins continued his hot form as the Cats broke away in the second half to secure a 18.12 (120) to 11.12 (78) victory. The win lifts the Cats to fourth on the ladder and ensures they will finish the round within the eight regardless of other results. A week after booting seven majors during Geelong’s after-the-siren victory over Melbourne, Hawkins again ran riot at the Cats’ home fortress.
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