A Richmond stats sheet without Cotchin, Martin and Deledio among the top seven ball winners normally means an AFL loss.
Coach Damien Hardwick still expects those big names to produce, but was rapt that lesser lights drove Thursday night’s 27-point win over Carlton.
In his first game for the Tigers, former Geelong midfielder Taylor Hunt led the way with 27 disposals and first-gamer Kamdyn McIntosh (23 possessions) was a revelation.
That pair, along with Brett Deledio (18 disposals), were crucial in the second term when the Tigers rallied from a 23-point deficit.
They will most likely be without Deledio for the round-two game against the Western Bulldogs.
He was booked in the first minute of the game for a high bump on Simon White and surely will be suspended.
White tagged Martin (13 possessions) out of the match and captain Trent Cotchin (17 possessions) was also down on his usual output.
“We still expect our better players to play better than what they did tonight, but we always knew Carlton would come to shut down those guys,” Hardwick said.
“So it was pleasing for the Taylor Hunts of the world to step up and really deliver.”
In his third year at Richmond, McIntosh finally has made his AFL debut and it was one to remember.
His tackle on Dale Thomas in the opening minute left the Carlton star with a dislocated shoulder.
McIntosh then set the example for his better-credentialled teammates with a relentless workrate.
“He was very good – we always knew we had a player,” Hardwick said.
“He’s been three years in the making.
“His ability to work from contest to contest is very good.
“He still has a long way to go … there are still some things in his game that he can improve.
“But overall we ticked that box tonight.”
Another highlight was key forward Jack Riewoldt, who kicked four goals.
He was very emotional, pointing to the sky after two of his goals.
His cousin Madeleine, the sister of St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt, died in February after a long illness.
Hardwick noted that Blues forward Michael Jamison has done well on Riewoldt, but on Thursday night the Tigers spearhead won their duel
“The thing we spoke to Jack about is it might not be his night, but it can be his moment.
“He really stood up … he’s going to have a good year for us.
“It (playing football) is probably the one thing that can take his mind off that (grief) – together with Nick.”
Hardwick said Richmond paid for poor skills early, but improved their kicking in particular in the second term.