The triumphant Richmond Tigers roared to victory at the AFL Grand Final on Saturday night, defeating the Geelong Cats to win their third premiership flag in four years.
The Tigers overcame the Cats 81 to 50 after an incredible come-back in the third quarter and heroic efforts from fan-favourite Dustin Martin.
The loss is a cruel blow for Cats star Gary Ablett Jnr, who will immediately retire after 357 AFL games. The 36-year-old was injured just moments after the first bounce but bravely battled his pain one last time.
After the match Ablett looked emotional and was seen talking to his wife Jordan and kissing his toddler son Levi, who has a rare and degenerative disease.
Martin, who kicked four goals and 21 disposals, made history as he became the first player to be awarded the Norm Smith Medal on three occasions.
The 29-year-old thanked the AFL, Toyota, the government and Richmond Football Club while receiving his award.
‘First of all, I would just like to thank Geelong for an awesome game,’ he said.
‘You’re an awesome club. Well done to Gaz (Gary Ablett) on your unbelievable career. To the AFL, Toyota, the government, last but not least, the Richmond footy club. Let’s go.’
As he walked off, Martin hugged a mystery blonde.
The Richmond Tigers celebrate after defeating the Geelong Cats to become to premiers for the 2020 AFL season
Martin, who kicked four goals and 21 disposals, made history as he became the first player to be awarded the Norm Smith Medal on three occasions
Martin and Richmond captain Trent Cotchin hold the trophy after winning the AFL Grand Final on Saturday night
Gary Ablett Jnr was teary-eyed after the loss and as he closed the door on his AFL caeer
Martin points in celebration after winning the AFL Grand Final for the second year in a row
Joel Selwood of the Cats looks dejected after the 2020 AFL Grand Final match at the Gabba on Saturday
The Richmond Tigers celebrate after defeating the Geelong Cats in the 2020 AFL Grand Final at the Gabba on Saturday
Dustin Martin celebrates as his squad wins the 2020 AFL Grand Final, while a Geelong Cats player holds their head in disappointment
Tigers are back-to-back premiers after defeating the GWS Giants last year. They were also triumphant over Adelaide Football Club in 2017.
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin said he was ‘very proud’ of his victorious squad and declared the 2020 AFL season had been an ‘incredible year’.
Geelong captain Joel Selwood thanked AFL fans who supported the club through a ‘really tough year’.
Speaking about Ablett’s retirement, Selwood said: ‘We love ya, and we thank you for what you’ve done for the game.’
World No. 1 tennis star Ash Barty presented The McClelland Trophy to Cotchin and Richmond coach Damien Hardwick.
Martin displays his Tigers guernsey as he celebrates after kicking yet another goal in the 2020 AFL Grand Final
Gary Ablett Jnr of the Cats is injured in the first minutes of the AFL Grand Final on Saturday. He will retire at the end of this season
Ablett is the son of Australian Football Hall of Fame member and former Hawthorn and Geelong player Gary Ablett Sr. He is pictured leaving the field after suffering an injury to his shoulder
In the first minutes of the game, Tigers star Nick Vlastuin was knocked out and taken away on a stretcher, while Ablett walked from the pitch with an injury to his shoulder.
Ablett is the son of Australian Football Hall of Fame member and former Hawthorn and Geelong star Gary Ablett Snr.
Dion Prestia of the Richmond Tigers kicked the first goal of the 2020 AFL Grand Final before teammate Kamdyn McIntosh – who missed last year’s Grand Final – put away the second.
The Geelong Cats tallied their first goal through Cam Guthrie. They again found success with a shot from the boundary by Mitch Duncan and led the game 14 to 13 at the end of the first quarter thanks to two behinds.
The first quarter was also briefly delayed as two pitch invaders attempted to dash across the Gabba.
Tigers star Dustin Martin celebrates as his team makes a come-back during the AFL Grand Final on Saturday
In the first few minutes of the game, Tigers star Nick Vlastuin was knocked out and taken off the pitch with a stretcher
Ouch: Ablett sinks to his knees in agony after suffering an injury during the AFL Grand Final on Saturday
Dustin Martin is seen in action during the AFL Grand Final on Saturday. He kicked his team’s only goal in the second quarter
Dion Prestia celebrates with his Tigers teammates after kicking the first goal of the 2020 AFL Grand Final on Saturday
The Cats maintained their lead at the beginning of the second quarter with a set shot goal successfully kicked by Patrick Dangerfield.
Geelong continued to dominate the second quarter with another set shot goal kicked by Sam Menegola and three behinds.
Tom Hawkins then soared the ball through the goal, taking Geelong to 35.
Dustin Martin kicked the first – and only – goal for the Tigers in the second quarter.
Geelong (35) held a 15-point lead to the Tigers (20) at half-time.
Tigers found themselves back in the game at the beginning of the third quarter, quickly adding six points to the scoreboard through Jack Riewoldt.
Richmond came back firing again with another goal through Jason Castagna.
But the come-back was quickly met with a reply from the Cats, who added another six points to their lead with a kick from Gryan Miers.
Tigers hit back again with their third goal of the quarter, kicked by Kane Lambert.
Richmond then narrowly overtook the scoreboard with an act of brilliance from Martin. At the end of the third quarter, the Tigers led the Cats 46 to 44.
Cats players Mitch Duncan (left) and Gary Ablett (right) celebrate during the Grand Final. Ablett is seen with tape on his shoulder injury
Tigers head coach Damien Hardwick embraces Dustin Martin during the 2020 AFL Grand Final on Saturday
A pitch invader is tackled to the ground by security guards after entering the pitch during the first quarter
Vlastuin is treated by medical staff before he is taken off the field in a stretcher in the beginning moments of the AFL Grand Final
The Tigers continued their lead with an early goal from Prestia in the beginning moments of the fourth quarter.
Richmond secured their promising position with another six points from Tom Lynch, before Tigers hero Martin kicked yet another goal.
The match was delayed with seven minutes to go after Geelong’s Sam Simpson was knocked out and taken off the pitch on a stretcher.
Once play was back on, the Cats founds some relief with a goal from Sam Menegola.
But with minutes to go, the Tigers secured their third premiership in four years with a goal from Riewoldt and another from Martin.
The first bounce went ahead as scheduled at the Gabba in Brisbane despite wild weather and fierce thunderstorms bearing down on the east coast of Australia on Saturday evening. Pictured: A general view of The Gabba
The Geelong Cats pose for their team photo ahead of the AFL Grand Final in Brisbane on Saturday
Pictured: The Richmond Tigers team photo ahead of the season decider in Brisbane on Saturday
Gary Ablett Jnr returns to the pitch with tape on his shoulder after suffering an injury moments after the first bounce
Earlier, the Tigers confirmed Vlastuin would not return to the pitch after suffering a concussion.
‘Confirmed at the quarter-time break that Nick Vlastuin will take no further part in the #AFLGF with concussion,’ the club wrote on Twitter.
Before the first bounce, the two teams gathered in the middle of the oval for the national anthem.
Sheppard, an indie pop band from Brisbane, performed for the crowds during the half-time entertainment.
Geelong Cats fans are seen gathered in the grandstand during the AFL Grand Final at the Gabba in Brisbane
Local indie pop bank Sheppard perform at half-time during the 2020 AFL Grand Final on Saturday
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shared a picture of herself sitting in the stands of the Gabba in a rain poncho
Amy Sheppard of the band Sheppard stuns in a glitter ensemble during her half-time performance at the Gabba
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shared a picture of herself sitting in the stands of the Gabba in a rain poncho.
‘I hope this Grand Final is remembered, not as a casualty of COVID, but a shining example of how we overcame it – together,’ she tweeted about the event.
Saturday’s clash marks the first time the AFL Grand Final has been held outside Victoria in the game’s 122-year history – after the 2020 season was relocated to Queensland due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hours ahead of the 7.30pm first bounce (AEST), the Gabba in Brisbane was swamped with torrential rain.
Despite the dismal weather predictions eager fans began to arrive at the Brisbane venue from 5pm in preparation for the landmark event.
Geelong Cats smile for the camera in Brisbane ahead of the 2020 AFL Grand Final
Looking grrr-eat! A Richmond Tigers fan in a black face mask and team jersey holds her scarf up in pride ahead of the AFL Grand Final
Feline hopeful: A young Geelong Cats fan waves a flag for her team as she arrives at The Gabba during a wet Saturday evening in Brisbane
Fight night: A Richmond Tigers fan in yellow and black face paint and a top hat poses for the camera ahead of the end of season clash
Sign of the times: Two Geelong Cats fans wear face masks as they don ponchos over their blue and white stripped jerseys
Bring it on! Two friends supporting opposite teams display their scarves ahead of the AFL season decider on Saturday
A Richmond Tigers fan smiles as he shows off his tiger face paint ahead of the AFL Grand Final in Queensland on Saturday
A Geelong fan in blue face paint poses ahead of the Grand Final in Brisbane, Queensland on Saturday
‘Tiger Time’: Two female Richmond fans cheer for their team ahead of the 2020 AFL Grand Final in Brisbane
Tigers fans decorated their faces with black and yellow paint for the match, while Cats supporters waved blue and white flags with pride.
Some savvy Grand Final attendees dressed for the miserable weather, opting to wear a rain poncho over their team’s kit.
Others chose to follow health advice issued during the coronavirus pandemic by wearing a face mask.
Melburnians were forced to mark the Grand Final differently this year, after their state battled to contain a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections.
The 2020 AFL season was forced to relocate to Queensland due to the pandemic. Players and officials were part of a COVID-safe bubble to ensure the league could continue through the health crisis.
Game time: Richmond Tigers star Dustin Martin arrives at The Gabba for the Grand Final on Saturday
Beers and cheers: Tigers and Cats fans celebrate in Melbourne, Victoria ahead of the 2020 AFL Grand Final in Brisbane, Queensland
Paying tribute: AFL fans enjoy a picnic outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Victoria, where the Grand Final is usually played
AFL fans walk towards The Gabba for the 2020 AFL Grand Final. Saturday’s match is the first time the end of season clash has been played outside of Victoria
Ever present: Victoria Police watch on as Melburnians try and celebrate a very different AFL Grand Final this year
Tigers fans gathered on the street outside a pub in Richmond, Melbourne, to mark the annual sporting event.
Other AFL fans enjoyed a celebratory picnic out the front of the usually bustling Melbourne Cricket Ground, the usual venue for the Grand Final.
The North Melbourne Grand Final breakfast was transformed into a virtual event this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fans paid for a breakfast hamper and received pre-recorded video messages from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, AFL head Gillon McLachlan McLachlan and comedian Dave Thornton, cooking tips featuring Kangaroos player Luke McDonald and a footy panel featuring former AFL stars David King and Nick Dal Santo.
In a nod to well-inked Richmond star Dustin Martin, McLachlan also joked if the Tigers beat Geelong on Saturday night, the Victorian government should open all tattoo parlours for 48 hours.
‘It would turn the Victorian economy around immediately, they would be in surplus by Tuesday,’ he said.
Ground staff at The Gabba are seen removing water from the field prior to the 2020 AFL Grand Final on Saturday
A trio of friends join together for a picture ahead of the Grand Final clash between the Tigers and the Cats
It’s time: Tigers players Shane Edwards and Tom J. Lynch arrive before the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final match on Saturday
Soaked! A fan sits in the rain while waiting for the first bounce of the AFL Grand Final in Brisbane on Saturday
He also paid tribute to Cats great Gary Ablett, who will retire after the match.
‘It’s still not certain you’re the best player in your family,’ he said, referring to Gary Ablett Snr.
The prime minister paid tribute to the AFL and the power of sport during the global crisis.
‘In this tough year, particularly down there in Victoria, we count and celebrate the wins wherever we find them,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘I am so proud of what your code, the AFL, has achieved.
‘Today is happening because an entire code stepped up.’
This year is is the first time the grand final has been played outside Victoria, something Mr Morrison called ‘unimaginable’.
‘I know there are some real mixed feelings down there in Melbourne – our traditions have been turned on their head,’ he said.
‘The Grand Final is part of Melbourne’s soul. Every Australian understands that.’
The Gabba is seen at 3.30pm on Saturday, just four hours before the AFL Grand Final between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats is due to start
Heavy rain is soaking the east coast on Saturday, with rain battering Brisbane – where the AFL Grand Final is due to start at 7.30pm
Under a rule brought in in 2015, the game could be called off if thunder strikes within 10km of the match (pictured, the Gabba getting a soaking around 3.30pm on Saturday)
A severe thunderstorm warning is in place for Queensland, with the weather bureau warning of a ‘multi-state thunderstorm outbreak’.
If thunder hits within 10km of the stadium, the game could be stopped thanks to a rule introduced in 2015.
Under the AFL’s Extreme Weather Policy, if there are thunderstorms within 10km of the field, then the players must seek cover inside and play should be stopped.
‘Under the lightning rule they can delay the match by up to an hour,’ an AFL spokesperson told 7News.
‘It has happened before, but it’s very rare.’
The game can only resume if there is no lightning within 10km of the field for 30 minutes.
The rule came in during the Swans and Giants clash in 2015, when lightning struck and the game stopped for 25 minutes.
But a Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson said it is more likely that the match will go ahead, albeit in heavy rain.
They said that there was only a 20 per cent chance that thunderstorms would occur within 10km of the stadium.
The ‘multi-state thunderstorm outbreak’ and will target Queensland, New South Wales, north-east Victoria, parts of South Australia and northern parts of the Northern Territory
The huge storm will spread across Australia from the south-east coast, heading north throughout the weekend
The Gabba seen on Saturday morning ahead of the AFL Grand Final. There were fears the game could be postponed due to severe weather, with rain beginning around 3pm
FIVE DAY WEATHER IN YOUR CITY
SATURDAY: Min 19. Max 29. Shower or two. Possible storm.
SUNDAY: Min 14. Max 19. Showers.
MONDAY: Min 14. Max 19. Showers.
TUESDAY: Min 13. Max 21. Shower or two.
WEDNESDAY: Min 15. Max 21. Shower or two.
SATURDAY: Min 19. Max 29. Partly cloudy
SUNDAY: Min 19. Max 30. Shower or two. Storm likely.
MONDAY: Min 19. Max 29. Shower or two. Possible storm.
TUESDAY: Min 18. Max 27. Shower or two.
WEDNESDAY: Min 17. Max 28. Shower or two.
SATURDAY: Min 12. Max 18. Shower or two.
SUNDAY: Min 9. Max 17. Cloudy.
MONDAY: Min 9. Max 18. Cloudy.
TUESDAY: Min 9. Max 20. Cloudy.
WEDNESDAY: Min 10. Max 21. Mostly sunny.
SATURDAY: Min 15. Max 22. Showers. Possible storm.
SUNDAY: Min 8. Max 14. Showers.
MONDAY: Min 6. Max 11. Showers.
TUESDAY: Min 7. Max 16. Shower or two.
WEDNESDAY: Min 8. Max 17. Shower or two.
SATURDAY: Min 12. Max 16. Rain then showers. Windy.
SUNDAY: Min 9. Max 14. Showers.
MONDAY: Min 9. Max 17. Partly cloudy.
TUESDAY: Min 9. Max 18. Cloudy.
WEDNESDAY: Min 10. Max 19. Possible shower.
SATURDAY: Min 12. Max 29. Mostly sunny.
SUNDAY: Min 17. Max 34. Sunny.
MONDAY: Min 19. Max 29. Partly cloudy.
TUESDAY: Min 13. Max 26. Partly cloudy.
WEDNESDAY: Min 15. Max 24. Partly cloudy.
SATURDAY: Min 11. Max 16. Shower or two.
SUNDAY: Min 5. Max 13. Possible shower.
MONDAY: Min 6. Max 15. Cloudy.
TUESDAY: Min 7. Max 15. Shower or two.
WEDNESDAY: Min 9. Max 15. Shower or two.
SATURDAY: Min 26. Max 34. Partly cloudy.
SUNDAY: Min 26. Max 33. Partly cloudy.
MONDAY: Min 26. Max 33. Shower or two. Possible storm.
TUESDAY: Min 25. Max 32. Shower or two. Possible storm.
WEDNESDAY: Min 25. Max 32. Shower or two. Possible storm.
Source: Bureau of Meteorology