Richmond are sweating on Dustin Martin’s fitness after the superstar was substituted out of an important 35-point AFL win over West Coast with a hamstring injury .
The Tigers moved back into the top-eight after riding a third-quarter challenge to prevail 20.8 (128) to 13.15 (93) at the MCG on Sunday.
Daniel Rioli (28 disposals), Marlion Pickett (25) and Jack Graham (24) were strong contributors for Richmond, who leapfrogged Sydney and St Kilda into seventh spot on percentage.
But Martin was taken out of the game early in the third term with what coach Damien Hardwick described as “tightness” in a hamstring.
It leaves Martin in doubt for the crunch clash with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, while Dion Prestia (concussion) is a chance to return.
Martin helped set up the win over West Coast in the first half, finishing with 17 disposals, eight score involvements, four clearances and 359 metres gained.
“He was really good, electrifying, which was great,” Hardwick said.
“He had his agility back and the ability to move the ball and see the ground, you know, his kicking was A1 today also.
“It was a good game, a really good game.”
Both sides were a man down when West Coast lost injury-plagued utility Elliot Yeo to a more serious hamstring issue during the third quarter.
The lowly Eagles got a lift out of Nic Naitanui’s return from a knee injury, with Tim Kelly (40 disposals, nine clearances) and Luke Shuey (26, 11) busy at the ruck star’s feet.
Naitanui was influential at stoppages, finishing with 19 disposals, 26 hit-outs and six clearances as the Eagles won the clearance battle (45-31).
Kelly capped a superb individual display with two goals and Jamie Cripps kicked three.
Richmond had more reliable routes to goal, sharing the scoring load and making the most of their chances.
Jack Riewoldt (three), Shai Bolton, Shane Edwards, Tom Lynch, Kamdyn McIntosh, Liam Baker and Pickett (two each) all kicked multiple goals.
Richmond led by 39 points early in the third quarter before the Eagles enjoyed a brief period of dominance after Martin and Yeo went off.
The visitors kicked 6.5 to 4.1 for the third quarter and an upset was on the cards when debutant Zane Trew calmly converted a free kick to cut the margin to 11 points.
But the Tigers steadied through Baker when Naitanui’s tangle with Ivan Soldo off the ball resulted in Shannon Hurn’s defensive mark being turned into a Richmond free kick close to goal.
“I thought the game was up for grabs halfway through the third quarter,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
“The guys were better with their method around the contest.
“We got supply this week, probably our highest for the year, and didn’t kick straight, that always hurts.
“Obviously Richmond deserved to win but we had moments of the game where we were on top.”