A much-needed win for Richmond has been marred by yet another injury to a star player, with Dustin Martin left hobbled and unable to finish the match against the Brisbane Lions.
With their finals hopes hanging by a thread, the Tigers overcame a half-time deficit with a second-half surge to run out 16. 10. (106) to 13. 8. (86) winners at Metricon Stadium.
Already without a number of first-choice players, the Tigers will be sweating over the health of Martin, who was flattened by Mitch Robinson in a brutal contest.
The incident occurred at a centre bounce with just over four minutes left in the third quarter when Robinson charged off the wing to meet an on-rushing Martin head-on, leaving the Brownlow Medallist doubled down.
Martin was unable to get up onto his feet for several moments as he was attended to by Richmond’s medical staff, before eventually gingerly walking off the ground.
After initially sitting on the bench, the 30-year-old went down into Richmond’s rooms at three-quarter-time before being ruled out of the game with what the club officially called a rib injury.
With pivotal matches up against fellow finals contenders Geelong and Fremantle on the horizon in the next fortnight, Richmond can ill-afford to lose its best player for any prolonged stretch.
Martin’s injury took some of the gloss off a welcome win for Damien Hardwick’s side, who had lost four straight matches coming into tonight’s clash.
The three-time Norm Smith Medallist was one of two Tigers injured, with wingman Kamdyn McIntosh substituted off in the first half with a hamstring injury, with Jack Ross coming on as the medical sub.
Richmond was boosted by Jack Riewoldt who nailed a season-high six goals in his 300th match, while young ruck-forward Mabior Chol added another four majors.
Riewoldt, who recently signed a new deal with the club, started the proceedings early by taking a signature high mark and nailing a goal in the opening minutes.
Richmond incredibly climbed five spots on the ladder after the 20-point win, jumping to seventh on the ladder with a match against the ladder-leading Geelong on deck in Round 19.