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Monday, October 2, 2017

Richmond end 37-year wait with AFL grand final win over Adelaide

After three successive finals appearances in 2013-2015, the club bottomed out to finish in 13th last year. A rebel group of challengers threatened to spill the board with one of their number, the 1980 premiership captain, Bruce Monteath, saying the club sat at a “35-year crossroad”.

Saturday’s 48-point evisceration of Adelaide was vindication for those who refused to panic and lent their backing to the coach, Damien Hardwick.

For 37 years Richmond has notoriously underperformed, misstepped, drafted poorly, and been ridiculed for the implementation of their infamous “five-year plan”.
Yet the last laugh belonged to Hardwick’s team as that plan belatedly, gloriously, came to fruition in front of around 100,000 at the MCG.
These Tigers embodied the spirit of captain Trent Cotchin’s reflection on a markedly different 2017, a season when he says he has felt “free”.

The Tigers' last grand final appearance had been in a 1982 loss to Carlton, and their last flag win was in 1980 when they crushed Collingwood.
But the party started early at the MCG as the roars of 40-50,000 Tigers fans at the ground lifted several levels, with their team leading by 34 points at three quarter-time on the way to a famous victory.
For Dustin Martin, the week ended on a perfect note, with the Brownlow medallist becoming the first player to add a Norm Smith medal for best-on-ground to the league's best-and-fairest.

It was fitting that Martin got his name on the scoresheet again in time on, raising a huge roar from the masses of Tigers fans in the stands. By this stage Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale, and former Tigers spearhead (now Channel Seven broadcaster) Matthew Richardson were in tears, as the result began to sink in.
Charlie Cameron grabbed a late consolation goal for Adelaide, but as the siren went the MCG began to resound to the strains of "We are from Tigerland", and long-suffering Richmond fans began to live their dream.