Richmond thrash Essendon in AFL Dreamtime

Indigenous Richmond star Shane Edwards lit up the AFL's Dreamtime At The 'G clash as the Tigers walloped Essendon by 71 points.

Edwards won the Yiooken award as best afield, racking up 30 possessions and two goals, as the Tigers mauled Essendon 17.12 (114) to 6.7 (43) in Saturday night's annual marquee clash at the MCG.

"I must admit, when they were reading the name out, I was hoping he'd get it," coach Damien Hardwick said of Edwards.

"He'll go down as one of the greats of our footy club".

Halfway through their premiership defence, the Tigers are placed ideally at second on the ladder.

"They're very humble and they're very hungry," Hardwick said of his players.

By contrast, the horror night stopped the Bombers' two-win rally dead in its tracks and they lost David Zaharakis (shoulder) in the first term after a crunching tackle.

Essendon coach John Worsfold said they are hopeful Zaharakis has not suffered a broken collarbone.

It is Richmond's biggest win over Essendon since 1983 and they now have won 15 in a row at the MCG, two off the ground record set by Melbourne in 1955-56.

Already in control at halftime, Richmond mauled Essendon with six goals to one to increase their lead by 33 points in the third quarter.

The Bombers have won the third term only once this season and have lost the quarter overall by a whopping 180 points.

Josh Caddy continued his stellar season with four goals to take his tally to 27, making him Richmond's leading goalkicker ahead of Jack Riewoldt.

Jake Stringer was a rare shining light for Essendon in his 100th game, with a game-high 16 contested possessions.

It is Essendon's lowest score since round three last season, when Carlton held them to 6.6 in wet conditions.

"It's a really good opportunity to have a look at why we couldn't get a score on the board ... the game was pretty even in a lot of the number, except for kicking goals,"' Worsfold said.

Essendon were outclassed after big wins over Geelong and GWS.

Richmond dominated the first term, but the Bombers rallied and reduced the margin to 13 points in the second quarter.

But after Stringer blotted his copybook by missing a simple set shot, Richmond went coast to coast for a goal that killed Essendon's momentum.

Just before halftime, a dubious free was paid to Dustin Martin in front of goal, which enraged Bombers fans.

He kicked accurately and Caddy quickly followed up with his third, giving the Tigers a comfortable 31-point lead at the main break.

Essendon's indigenous great Michael Long was a rare absentee from the Dreamtime clash as he recovers from illness, meaning he did not lead the pre-game walk to the MCG that is named in his honour.