What we learnt: Tigers have more gears but Collingwood not far behind

MELBOURNE, Australia -- A rampant final quarter surge has seen Richmond prevail over Collingwood by 28 points and extend its winning streak at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to a record 18 games.

In front of 88,180 fans, the Tigers were pushed to the brink before flicking a switch at the beginning of the final term, rattling off five unanswered goals to open up an insurmountable lead and all but lock up a top two finish.

Dustin Martin spent the majority of the game in the forward line, kicking three goals from 19 disposals while Jack Riewoldt continued his excellent season with three goals of his own.

Here's three things we learned from the game...

Richmond has more gears than we thought

Seeing the Tigers kick away in a final quarter is nothing new for footy fans but the way in which they put Collingwood to the sword on Saturday afternoon was something to behold.

At three-quarter time Richmond led by just four points and looked to be facing arguably its toughest test at the MCG since last year's grand final. However, in the space of four minutes the game was, for all intents and purposes, over. Goals to Riewoldt, Jacob Townsend and Martin saw the margin balloon out to 22 points in the blink of an eye while further goals to Shane Edwards and Daniel Rioli proved staying with the Tigers for three quarters is one thing, but to to do it in the final quarter is a whole other caper.

The Tigers won the final quarter inside 50 count (17-10), restricting the Magpies to just nine points -- the same as what they managed in their fourth quarter loss to West Coast a fortnight ago.

Sure, Collingwood was playing two men down for most of the second half -- Jeremy Howe failed to return after suffering what appeared to be concussion in the first term, while Matthew Scharenberg suffered what looks like a heartbreaking third ACL tear -- but the way in which the Tigers instantly released the pressure valve is unlike any team we've seen in quite some time.

At full strength, Collingwood can beat Richmond

Speculation can be a dangerous thing in sport but Saturday afternoon's game proved Collingwood -- with a couple of key players back in the line-up -- can be the team to end Richmond's run of dominance.

The Magpies have surprised plenty of people in 2018 with their rise up the ladder and without a host of their walk-up starters, gave the Tigers an almighty fright at the MCG.

Led by skipper Scott Pendlebury and right-hand man Steele Sidebottom who combined for 75 disposals, the Magpies convincingly won the midfield battle. Collingwood finished up +25 in disposals, +9 in contested possessions and +10 in clearances, impressive considering two of their prime movers in Adam Treloar and Jordan De Goey were watching on from the stands.

You have to marvel at the way Richmond can flick a switch. The Tigers led Collingwood by just four points at the final change before rattling off five unanswered goals to run out 28 point winners in front of over 88,000 at the MCG.

Jake Michaels, ESPN Assistant Editor86d ago

In fact, if you bring those two in, you could argue Collingwood gets the four points, but that's probably enough speculation.

The reality is Collingwood was every bit a match for Richmond in the first three quarters at a ground at which they simply don't lose. The Magpies also proved that they are equally as damaging when allowed to run and link up through the midfield and the addition of De Goey and Treloar will only improve them in that department as well as adding further scoring options.

Should these two play again at full strength in September, Brodie Grundy might just be the difference. The Pies ruckman smashed Toby Nankervis in hitouts (48-24) and was a beast around the ground with 23 disposals and 10 tackles.

Short and Higgins' value rising

For a team that boasts plenty of A-graders, there's two players that can often be overlooked by opposition coaches when coming up against Richmond; Jayden Short and Jack Higgins.

Short, who on Saturday played his 50th game, has become arguably Richmond's most lethal distributor and on Saturday afternoon he showed just how damaging he can be.

In the first quarter, the crafty halfback had five kicks at 100 percent efficiency, including two long-range goals in the space of a couple of minutes, helping Richmond skip out to a 19 point quarter time lead. It was no coincidence that when he had just one kick in the second term, Collingwood was able to turn the tables and win the quarter by 11 points.

He fired up again in the second half to help Richmond to a big win and finished with 19 disposals at 85 percent efficiency as well as 549 meters gained.

And then there's Higgins who has quickly become a fan favourite for the Tiger faithful with his energy around goal. The 19-year-old had a team-high 14 contested possessions against Collingwood and kicked two goals, including one which is likely to feature in Goal of the Year calculations.

Stopping Short and Higgins is certainly no recipe for success against Richmond but one thing is certain; at their best they make them a far better side.