Richmond Tigers hold off dogged Blues at quiet MCG

So much is different about the world and the AFL in 2020, but at least one thing has stayed the same as Richmond launched their season with a win over Carlton.

In an eerily empty MCG due to coronavirus restrictions, the Tigers made it 10 wins in a row against the Blues, kicking off the AFL season with a 16.9 (105) to 12.9 (81) victory.

But in David Teague's first game as full-time coach, Carlton showed plenty of promise.

Having lost ruckman Matthew Kreuzer to a foot injury in the first quarter, the Blues trailed by a game-high 50 points in the third quarter.

But star recruit Jack Martin kicked four goals in the third term as the Blues kicked seven of eight goals to slice the margin to 15 points in the last quarter before the Tigers steadied.

"You give away eight free kick goals and that keeps sides in the game," Damien Hardwick said.

"The fact of the matter was that I thought we were undisciplined, I thought we gave away cheap frees that ended up in easy goals."

Richmond should have unfurled their 2019 premiership flag in front of their adoring Tiger Army before Thursday night's clash.

But at least locked-out fans watching at home would've been heartened to see that not much has changed with Hardwick's well-drilled unit.

Dustin Martin is still a superstar, the two-time Norm Smith Medal winner warming into the match to finish with 24 possessions and a goal.

Dion Prestia (25 disposals) and Trent Cotchin (19) were prominent in the first game played with newly-introduced shortened 16-minute plus time-on quarters.

Marlion Pickett, back at the scene of his stunning grand final debut, finished with 14 touches and showed flashes of brilliance.

Daniel Rioli, Shai Bolton and Jason Castagna all kicked three goals.

Jack Riewoldt booted two of his three goals in the first quarter as the Tigers leapt out to a 31-point lead at the first break that they extended to 45 points at halftime.

Along with Martin, Patrick Cripps was instrumental in the fightback, the co-captain gathering 31 touches.

In his first game since round 23, 2017, Sam Docherty was outstanding with 26 disposals in his comeback from two knee reconstructions.

"I thought the boys showed resilience throughout the game and found a way to play more our style in the second half," Teague said.

"But I don't really want to be a team that just competes - we came here to win."