Richmond are premiers. Yes, you heard right. For the second year in a row, a Victorian football fairytale came true as the Tigers ended their 37-year drought with an enormous win over the Adelaide Crows.
Such a result would not have been thought possible last year when the Tigers ended their sorry season with a 113-point thumping in Sydney.
In front of 100,021 die-hard fans of the game, the Tigers dished out a 48-point shellacking to the Crows, who produced one of their worst displays of the year on the game’s biggest stage.
The Crows were unable to cope with the Tigers pressure, being outscored by almost 10 goals in the final three quarters of the game.
Tigers dominated them in contested possessions and tackles, leaving the Crows rattled and lacking the poise to move the ball with the usual fluency that has made them one of the most potent sides of the year.
Richmond captain, Trent Cotchin has spoken of his teammates “greed” to make sure that this year’s grand final win is not a flash in the pan.
As reality dawned on Sunday that the Tigers were reigning premiers, Cotchin said he felt “empty” following the final siren in Saturday’s grand final victory over Adelaide.
But as he enjoyed Sunday’s festivities at Punt Road on Sunday, Cotchin had already had half an eye to next year, with the Tigers keen to ensure they don’t have to wait another 37 years for the clubs next flag.
“The conversation we’ve had all year is that our best footy is ahead of us,” Cotchin said.
“(Saturday) was an outstanding performance from each and every player, but there’s so much more improvement in us.”
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said it was too early to begin contemplating how the Tigers would cope next year with a target on their back.
“We’ll worry about that in due course. We haven’t really had time to think about that,” Hardwick said.
“We’re just going to enjoy it for what it is. We’ve embraced the whole finals series this year. We’ll embrace it for what it is now, and when it’s time to get back to work, we’ll get back to work. But we’ll be like the supporters – we’ll enjoy this one.”
Cotchin said the club’s huge supporter base deserved their long-awaited triumph, “I can’t imagine the pain they’ve been through, but now the excitement, the enjoyment that they get …,” he said.
“They’ve been there through thick and thin, and they’re thoroughly deserving of these moments.”
Expanding on the hours that followed the win, Cotchin said he had experienced a range of emotions from pride of the club and his teammates, pure joy and even some tears.
“The journey we’ve been on, for longer than 12 months, has been a special one and it’s been great being a part of it,” he said.