Reigning AFL premiers Richmond and Dustin Martin have resumed where they left off, dishing out some brutal lessons to Essendon in Wangaratta.
After a slow start to their opening pre-season match, the Tigers mauled the Bombers on Saturday by 87 points in steamy conditions.
The 19.10 (124) to 5.7 (37) romp was a reminder of how Richmond famously broke their 37-year premiership drought - manic pressure, combined with midfield domination and superb ball use.
Likewise, Martin did not miss a beat as he resumed from last year's Brownlow Medal form.
Martin and captain Trent Cotchin were best afield until they were rested for the last quarter.
"We saw our brand re-established, we play as a hunter and our boys showed that today," coach Damien Hardwick said.
Hardwick added that senior players such as Cotchin, Alex Rance and Jack Riewoldt were determined to keep the Tiger machine rolling.
"As leaders, they're hungry. They want to achieve great things," he said.
With Daniel Rioli recovering from a foot injury, Shai Bolton's three goals mean he is likely to take his place in the forward line for round one.
"Our boys know if they want a game in our side, they have to chase and tackle - case in point, Shai Bolton," Hardwick said.
"It (was) one of the better games he's played for us."
Newcomer Ryan Garthwaite also impressed Hardwick, who said the tall utility reminded him of David Astbury at the same age.
Astbury and Toby Nankervis were taken out of the game after suffering head knocks, as was Essendon's Zach Merrett.
Star Essendon recruit Jake Stringer also suffered a cut head early and had a quiet game, but fellow newcomers Adam Saad and Devon Smith were solid.
While Rioli, Dion Prestia and Nathan Broad were the only Tigers missing from their premiership 22, the Bombers were without several key players.
They also suffered a gastro outbreak early in the week and Essendon coach John Worsfold said it was hard to say what toll that took on the team.
Regardless, Worsfold says there is clearly confusion as they try to change how they play - something he is confident they can address quickly.
Essendon also could not cope with Richmond's pressure.
"It's something we have to look at ... who was getting brushed aside and why there wasn't that secondary heat coming," Worsfold said.
He was asked if the heavy loss would knock their confidence.
"I'm sure it makes the players think 'we have a bit of work to do', but we'll see a different team most likely in the next game and it will assist our preparation," he said.
Darcy Parish and Dyson Heppell had solid hit-outs for Essendon and Shaun McKernan impressed in attack, taking 11 marks.
Michael Hurley, Cale Hooker and Orazio Fantasia are among frontline players who could return for their second and final pre-season game on March 11 against Geelong in Colac.
Richmond play North Melbourne on March 7 at Princes Park.