Robinson: This was Tigers at frightening best
A colossal preliminary final weekend will be played at the MCG after Richmond - and an astonishing Dustin Martin - put Brisbane in their place at the Gabba.
The Tigers recovered from a first-quarter onslaught from the Lions and, in a typically high pressure, relentless and efficient performance, beat down the Lions and their boisterous home crowd.
It was a frightening on-the-road victory.
Frightening in the sense that their first journey away from the MCG in the past two months resulted in an emphatic 47-point win.
The final score was 18.4 (112) to 8.17 (65).
They are in "anywhere, anytime'' mood and now the premiership favourites will play the winner of the next week's semi-final between Geelong and West Coast.
They join Collingwood on the penultimate weekend after the Magpies' last-man-standing win over the Cats on Friday night.
On the same weekend last year, the Magpies humiliated Richmond, an effort that can't be rectified, but also can't be forgotten.
This time, they are on opposite sides of the finals draw, leaving open the tantalising prospect of a Collingwood-Richmond Grand Final.
The Magpies were brave against the Cats, finishing the game with 20 men and probably losing Jordan Jodan de Goey (hamstring) for the year and defender Levi Greenwood (ACL) for the next 12 months
The Tigers were brave and bruising and all encompassing, just like a flag favourite should be.
You need your role players to play well and your leaders to play better.
It was the familiar names of Shane Edwards (29 disposals), Dion Prestia (32 disposals), skipper Trent Cotchin (in the second quarter) and Dustin Martin (six goals) who made the right plays when the opportunities presented, be it winning the hard ball or kicking goals.
Martin remains the most devastating matchwinner in the competition.
He kicked three goals in the third term to squeeze the life out of the Lions, playing mainly out of the goalsquare.
The impact of Martin is two-fold. He can be a burst player in the midfield and he was solid enough early, but it was his occupation in Richmond's forward 50m which turned this game on its head.
Patrick Dangerfield is a powerhouse and Scott Pendlebury an orchestra master, as we witnessed on Friday night, but in Martin you have both these attributes, a kind of Pavarotti at a rave party.
You could argue he's having more impact on games than he did through his remarkable 2017 season, where he won the Brownlow Medal, every media award and the Norm Smith Medal for being best on ground in the Grand Final.
In this form, it's difficult to find words to describe his performance. Sometimes, you just have to look, savour and shake your head in admiration.
Saturday night was one of those times.
The decisive final margin of seven goals belied a dazzling first quarter from the Lions.
Jack Riewoldt kicked the first goal of the game after he tackled and laid on Daniel Rich. Some observers believed Rich didn't have prior opportunity, but the fact is Rich simply can't lie on the ball without trying to get rid of it.
The much-hyped Dylan Grimes-Charlie Cameron contest was won by Grimes again, although a dive by Grimes in the first quarter was unedifying.
Yes, Eric Hipgood knocked over Grimes, who had given away a free kick to Cameron, but the umpire fell for the Grimes dive.
That said, Hipgood gave the umpire the option. It was a foolish start to the game for Hipgood and unfortunately for him, his night didn't get better.
The Lions were amped early, and mistakes were made, but soon enough kicked three consecutive goals, which had the Gabba crowd bouncing.
These bullish Lions, led by Jarrod Berry, Mitch Robinson and Jarryd Lyons, took it up to the Tigers and at quarter-time, had won stoppages 13-7, contested ball 45-31, shots at goal 10-3 and inside 50s were 23-6.
The problem was they kicked 4.6 At the half, they had kicked 4.10.
Football can be dissected in a hundred ways, but often the most simple dissection is the scoreboard.
Simply, the Lions kicked poorly for goal and the Tigers were efficient.
During the second quarter, Cameron missed, Raynor missed and McStay missed goals, before the ball was swept down field for Martin to mark and kick the goal.
When the Big O - Oscar McInerney - missed yet another shot at goal, the ball was transferred to the other end, where Shai Bolton kicked the goal.
Down by 12 pints at quarter-time, the Tigers led by 11 points at halftime.
When Martin was grabbed by Marcus Adams at the start of the third quarter and kicked the goal from the free kick, it was Richmond's fifth consecutive goal and the pathway into their third consecutive preliminary final was alight.
Five consecutive goals turned into nine consecutive goals, which turned into another wholehearted Richmond demolition.