What had seemed for more than a generation such a struggle for the Richmond Football Club ended with a trouncing, the Tigers winning their 11th premiership by 48 points against the top-placed and more highly-favoured Adelaide. It was only when small forward stalwart Dan Butler put Richmond 46 points in front into time-on that President Peggy O’Neal started to cry and only when Dustin Martin kicked his second three minutes later that CEO Brendon Gale followed suit.
On the boundary line the man who punctuated the dark years with his own unique and individual brilliance Matthew Richardson shed tears as well before finally handing over the baton to a new breed of champions when he handed Damien Hardwick and Captain Trent Cotchin the cup.
After the siren and the speeches, Cotchin led the winners to their cheer squad and seemed to physically climb into the supporters who have waited so long and so loudly for another flag.
The Tigers beat the Adelaide Crows 16.12.108 to 8.12.60 at a packed MCG which had more people shoe-horned in than the 100,000 official capacity. And boy, did they treat each and every one of those people to an emphatic victory.
This is an incredible turnaround for a much-maligned club which finished 13th with just eight wins in 2016. No team has ever won a flag from such a lowly position the previous season. Coach Damien Hardwick and other key players were lucky to survive the off-season. But the club stuck strong. Oh boy, has loyalty paid off.