Essendon Bombers fly high in win, Dustin Martin back as Maurice Rioli jnr shines, Friday double trouble

But the biggest lesson is that this was the best game Peter Wright has played. Period.

Peter Wright.
Peter Wright.Credit:Getty Images

He had no more consequential performance at Gold Coast nor at Essendon. The reason is he didn’t just kick goals but he did it in a game that mattered, when his club was struggling and when his team was behind. He did it when it needed him.

He has always had all the tools – the size, the mark, the beautiful kick. But he has not always seemed to understand what he has at his disposal and how good he can be. He has played well against weaker teams before but in the last quarter, against James Sicily and Sam Frost, he did it.

Does it all tangibly change where Essendon are at? As Ben Rutten affirmed after the game, no it doesn’t. He said they know where they are at even if we on the outside are not sure.

More importantly, the president, Paul Brasher, said the same thing before the game: we don’t need another review at Essendon, win or lose we know where we are and where we are going.

THE MANY SIGHTS OF RICHMOND

The most emotional and encouraging sight for Richmond out of the win on Saturday was plainly the return of Dusty Martin. It was always going to be regardless of what he did and whether the team won or not.

Dustin Martin in action against Collingwood.
Dustin Martin in action against Collingwood.Credit:Getty Images

He spent virtually the entirety of the game forward and took a half to work into the game, but found his touch. His return now casts Richmond’s season in a different light. You could never write Richmond’s season off while Martin had not written his season off.

The sight of Tom Lynch kicking six goals was the most reaffirming sight. His form has been sporadic, but he found it on Saturday.

But none of this was the most exciting sight. The most exciting sight was Maurice Rioli jnr. MJ. And, in particular, his electric second quarter. He ran down Nick Daicos, showing his speed and appetite for a tackle. Minutes later, between Darcy Moore and John Noble he palm-slapped the ball into the ground so it bounced back to him, stepped between both players and squeezed a long kick to the goal square, where Lynch was able to mark and goal. It was the most exciting performance of the day.

CAT SHOWING STYLE

Tyson Stengle is building into an excellent season. Overshadowed weekly by a bigger haul from Tom Hawkins or Jeremy Cameron (Saturday it was Cameron with five again).

Stengle booted three to make it 16 for the season. He also laid four tackles, which is not a huge number, but it was the fourth most of anyone on the ground and signaled an appetite for work that has not been traditionally associated with Stengle.

As a player, he is excellent when the ball is in his area but has not always worked hard when it is not in his area. This year he has been getting better at that.

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