In Saturday night's Grand Final edition of 10 things we learned, brought to you by Haier, the world's No.1 appliance maker, we discover that Richmond captain Trent Cotchin has written his name into club history, Dusty just keeps getting better and there was a case of deja vu for Geelong in the third quarter.
TIGERS v CATS Full match coverage and stats
Tigers leader etches his name into club history
Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin became the club's first triple premiership captain to write his name into Punt Road folklore. After his efforts in 2017 and 2019, Cotchin sat alongside Royce Hart, Dan Minogue and Percey Bentley as the club's only dual Tigers premiership captains. But that all changed on Saturday night. Cotchin joined 13 teammates as triple premiership players with seven tasting their second flag and Noah Balta – who celebrated his 21st birthday during the week – winning his first.
Richmond defence delivers its finest hour
The Tigers' backline looked all at sea when gun stopper Nick Vlastuin was ruled out for the game after just five minutes. On the receiving end of a high Patrick Dangerfield forearm, Vlastuin was knocked out and forced to watch on from the bench. No player had been taken out of a decider earlier this century and it appeared to rattle the Tigers for the rest of the first half. Coach Damien Hardwick told Channel Seven he changed things up at the main break, sending Noah Balta further up the field for key minutes and David Astbury deeper into defence while Dylan Grimes shut out Gary Rohan. With Bachar Houli on one leg carrying a torn calf, Liam Baker and Jayden Short won a stack of footy as the Cats kicked just two goals after half-time.
Tigers flip the script on quick starts
After seven years, the run of first goalscorers going on to lose Grand Finals finally came to an end. And Richmond can thank Dion Prestia. The midfielder's opening goal came at the 20-minute mark of the first term after a long delay following injuries to Nick Vlastuin and Gary Ablett. His opener was quickly followed by a Kamdyn McIntosh major before the Cats piled on five in a row. It was the first time the opener goalkicker of a decider had gone onto win the flag since Hawthorn's Jack Gunston in 2013.
Old Cats upstaged by hungrier Tigers
At an average age of 28 years and 117 days, Geelong entered as the oldest Grand Final side in history and fifth-oldest line-up to take the field in any AFL/VFL match. But just like their effort in the qualifying final loss to Port Adelaide (a game in which the Cats fielded the oldest side in AFL/VFL history), they once again fell down in the third quarter. And the Cats will only get older next season with incoming free agent Jeremy Cameron to turn 28 in April and trade target Shaun Higgins to start next year at 33. Of the Tigers' three flags in four years, they fielded their oldest line-up at an average of 27 years and 43 days.
GONE IN A FLASH Flying Cat claims early glory in Grand Final sprint
Richmond champion continues impressive finals goalscoring record
While they may not have known it at the time, Tigers fans should've been resting comfortably when triple Norm Smith medallist Dustin Martin kicked his first of four goals late in the second quarter. From his last 10 finals, the Tigers have won all eight games when Martin has kicked at least one goal. They've lost the other two.
Remember this Geelong fans?
Who said lightning doesn't strike twice? Richmond delivered a carbon copy of its third term in last year's preliminary final to run over the Cats in the second half. Twelve months ago, the Cats led by 21 points at the main break before Richmond wrestled back momentum with two goals inside the five minutes of the third quarter. On Saturday night, the Tigers did exactly the same courtesy of Jack Riewoldt and Jason Castagna before romping home. Until that point the Cats had been the best-performing third-quarter team of 2020.
TIGERS PLAYER RATINGS No passengers on the Tiger train
Geelong got its Dangerfield midfield-forward mix wrong
The Cats superstar looked set to explode in the second term with five disposals and a crucial major playing mostly in attack. But he went missing during the third quarter, collecting just one disposal while anchored to the goalsquare for big minutes as the Tigers got their run on. In hindsight, the Cats should've thrown their best player into the centre bounces to try and stem the tide.
CATS PLAYER RATINGS Was age a factor as the Cats faded away?
Tigers midfield coaches deserves a raise
During the home and away season the Tigers were ranked 17th in the competition for clearance differential compared to their opponents, while conceding more than five extra per game. However, that completely changed during the finals series as their stoppage work became one of their greatest strengths. On Saturday night the Tigers won the clearances by four and centre clearances by six. Kudos should go to Andrew McQualter and Adam Kingsley for their efforts with the midfield, plus the work of returning duo Shane Edwards and Dion Prestia.
Gary Rohan's Grand Final record only worsened
The Cats forward was one of his side's best with three goals in last week's preliminary final win. But just like he did in losing sides for Sydney in 2014 and 2016, Rohan performed well below his best on the biggest stage of all. He finished with just five disposals (including two clangers) to be the Cats' lowest ball-winner on the ground.
Timeslot and downpour no concern
The Gabba copped more than 30mm of rain throughout the afternoon as vision circulated of a flooded surface. And coupled with worries from experts over the impact of dewy conditions of Brisbane at night, you could've been forgiven for thinking it was going to be a dour affair. It was anything but as the Tigers delivered their highest score since round 14.