When a powerhouse club embedded with a proud history is at the top of their competition, they truly are a dominant force.
That is the case with the Richmond Football Club, and we are firmly witnessing an era that will be talked about for years to come.
Two premierships in three seasons is not quite the Hawthorn three-peat of 2013-15, or the dominant Brisbane Lions over the period of 2001-03, and they haven’t won three flags in five years like the Geelong Cats of 07-11; but they are well and truly on their way to something special; and the trajectory of where they will end up is still unknown.
2017 was when the Tigers really started to roar, as they rolled through September and right through the Adelaide Crows on grand final day, and 2018 could now be seen as the season that go away, when they capitulated against Collingwood in a preliminary final; they were certainly a team capable enough of going all the way that year as well.
Saturday’s grand final saw Richmond crowned as premiers for 2019, and it feels right, they dominated the last half of the season, and were undoubtedly the best team of the finals series, led by the brilliance of now two-time North Smith medallist Dustin Martin.
2019’s premiership triumph is not to be underestimated, especially when you consider they lost arguably their best player in defender Alex Rance in round one of the season to an ACL injury.
Many people were bold enough to write the Tigers off even at that early point in the year, and to be honest you can’t really blame them, even the middle part of the season saw them missing stars such as Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards and Jack Riewoldt through injury.
The Tigers entered Saturday’s grand final as warm favourites against GWS, and they well and truly performed worthy of that.
You just felt like you were watching the best team in the AFL flex their muscles on the biggest stage of all, and with Alex Rance set to return for them in 2020, there is every chance they could win another premiership next season to further establish their legacy as an outstanding team.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick joins Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson as the only coaches to lead their clubs to multiple premierships during their time at the helm.
At one stage that looked like it would never happen, atleast from outside the four walls of the football club, when Richmond were under increasing pressure in 2016 following a poor season – a lot of people were calling for Hardwick to be sacked.
The club stood by him though, and he backed in his players, stating in that disastrous 2016 season that the club’s current list was the best he’d ever had at his disposal, many laughed – but he was right.
Richmond are now reaping the rewards thanks to the patience and belief they had with Damien Hardwick, a game-plan built on pressure and an even spread of contributors on the field that doesn’t rely too heavily big performances from their stars.
The Tigers are well and truly in their premiership window, and who knows after next year they may be in the conversation for being one of the best teams we’ve seen in recent times.