AFL star Dustin Martin’s 300th game no celebration as Richmond is belted by Hawthorn

Hawthorn have crashed Dustin Martin’s 300-game party, belting Richmond by 48 points to build on their impressive AFL mid-season surge.

Martin had the MCG crowd of 92,311 roaring in the Saturday twilight game when he kicked the opening goal, but the Hawks were too good and won 14.13 (97) to 6.13 (49).

Not for the first time, ‘Dusty’ drew a crowd – his 300-game milestone was the best attendance for a Richmond-Hawthorn home-and-away game and also the eighth-best in AFL history outside finals.

Immediately after the final siren, the 2017 Brownlow Medallist, three-time premiership player and three-time Norm Smith Medallist walked out to the middle of the ground as the Tigers fans chanted his name and he acknowledged their cheers.

Richmond star Dustin Martin’s 300th game was bittersweet with his team taking a beating from Hawthorn on Saturday

Three-time premiership teammate Jack Riewoldt pulled off the near-impossible, conducting an interview for Fox Footy with the media-shy star.

‘It’s amazing – it’s a disappointing result, but I love the Tiger army so much, I love the club so much,’ Martin said.

‘All the love I’ve received this week has just meant the absolute world to me.’

Martin said he felt ‘numb’ after the big buildup through the week to his milestone game.

He also dispelled some speculation over the last few days that this would be his last game, saying he would freshen up for the post-bye home game against Carlton in a fortnight.

Teammates Toby Nankervis and Tom Lynch then chaired him off the field, with Martin hugging his mum Kathy among others on the boundary.

Meanwhile, the Hawks have won six of their last seven for a 7-7 record going into their mid-season bye and their rebuild is morphing rapidly into a top-eight push.

Martin finished with 13 disposals and as always was clean with his disposal for Richmond, but he and the other Tigers leaders could not engineer an upset.

Martin had the MCG crowd of 92,311 roaring in the Saturday twilight game when he kicked the opening goal, but the Hawks were too good

Martin had the MCG crowd of 92,311 roaring in the Saturday twilight game when he kicked the opening goal, but the Hawks were too good

Hawthorn kicked the last five goals of the third term to kill off the contest, holding a 44-point lead at three-quarter time.

Key forward Mabior Chol kicked four goals, while captain James Sicily (33 disposals) and midfielder Jai Newcombe (26) were prolific.

Richmond midfielder Tim Taranto, with 33 possessions and eight  clearances, shone on an otherwise dirty night for the Tigers.

Martin lit up the MCG four minutes into the game when teammate Hugo Ralphsmith intercepted a Hawthorn pass and found the Tigers legend.

He duly kicked the first goal of the game to give Richmond the perfect start.

Taranto kicked their second with a freakish snap from deep in a pocket.

But Hawthorn, one of the form teams over the last few weeks, quickly steadied and put Richmond under plenty of pressure.

With Josh Weddle, Sicily and Jack Scrimshaw rock-solid in defence, the Hawks racked up repeat inside 50s and led by two goals at the first change.

They extended that break to 19 points at halftime, with Richmond lucky that Hawks small forward Nick Watson fluffed his three shots on goal in the second quarter.

Chol added another two goals to his bag in the third quarter as the Hawks kicked five to one and put the game to bed.

But there was clearly some feeling in the contest, with a scuffle between returning Richmond key forward Tom Lynch and Hawks defender Sam Frost sparking a melee on the three-quarter time siren.

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