Richmond has sealed its status as one of the greatest teams in AFL history after claiming a third premiership in four seasons after a thrilling Grand Final win.
After relatively comfortable outings in the 2017 and 2019 deciders, Damien Hardwick’s men were given an almighty scare, overcoming a 21-point first-half deficit to run out 12. 9. (81) to 7. 8. (50) winners in front of a raucous crowd at the Gabba.
Dustin Martin led the charge for the Tigers, claiming his third career Norm Smith Medal win, becoming the first man in AFL history to achieve the feat.
With the Tigers on the ropes in the second quarter, Martin inspired his side with a brilliant solo goal, before adding three more majors in the second half to go along with 21 disposals.
Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin also etched his name into Tigers folklore, becoming the first Tiger captain to lead his side to three premierships.
Following the match, Cotchin praised the mindset of the entire Tigers playing group, who have been forced to overcome incredible hurdles en-route to the premiership.
“Full credit to Geelong. I grew up barracking for Geelong and I’ve been envious of the way they’ve consistently shown up every year and this year was no different,” Cotchin told Seven.
“They challenged us, but credit to our boys, they showed the resilience that we know they can.
“Not just the boys on the field, I’m so proud of the boys that have just come out to the field then, they’ve probably had a more challenging year than anyone without being able to put their energy towards competition.
“We’ve spoken a lot about the journey, but we came out here treating it like an adventure, and it’s been one hell of an adventure.
“To finish off with this is just simply outstanding and I couldn’t be more proud of our whole organisation.”
Shane Edwards led all players with 27 disposals, while Jayden Short also added 25 disposals, and Edwards was full of praise for Martin for his sensational performance.
“I’ve never played in a game like this. You could make a few movies about this year I reckon,” he said.
“Well by the AFL and well done by Geelong. What a game. That’s the hardest game I’ve ever played.
“He had (the Norm Smith Medal won) before the game. He’s just an amazing player to play with and I’m going to cherish every game I can play with him.”
Richmond’s win ended hopes of a fairytale finish for retiring Geelong champion Gary Ablett, who played through a significant shoulder injury which came in the opening term.
Ablett looked to dislocate his shoulder in a tackle from Cotchin, in a chaotic minute of play which saw Richmond defender Nick Vlaustin unable to run out the match due to a concussion.