Richmond rediscovered their run and dare at a dark and sodden MCG on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a five-point AFL loss to heavyweights Geelong.
The Tigers staged an impressive fightback after a poor opening quarter, only for the Cats to hold on for a 11.15 (81) to 12.4 (76) win.
Richmond started the game in the same turgid fashion that had underlined their underwhelming start to the season, second guessing themselves and lacking fluency and foot skills while attempting to rebound the ball from defence.
The Cats shot out to a 35-point lead in the second quarter and Richmond had yet to kick a goal.
Facing the prospect of their first goal-less opening half since 1996 and with five and a half minutes left in the term, it all clicked for the Tigers.
Jack Riewoldt fired first, peeling one through after marking deep in the pocket, as his side added four goals in quick succession before the major break.
Richmond continued to play risky and direct football in the third quarter despite heavy rain making for a slippery Sherrin, and the rewards continued.
Reece Conca, Alex Rance and Dustin Martin led the way and took the game on as the Tigers kicked four goals straight to reduce Geelong’s advantage to seven points at three-quarter time.
Joel Selwood and Richmond’s Trent Cotchin traded captain’s goals to set the stage for a thrilling finish, before Geelong young gun Jordan Murdoch came up with the play of the day when the game was in the balance.
Murdoch reeled in Nick Vlastuin with an outstanding tackle, gained possession and snapped truly.
Richmond continued to press, as Ty Vickery and Riewoldt added goals at the death.
But they simply ran out of time, with the siren sounding as Sam Lloyd celebrated his third goal that put the Tigers within reach of the lead.
Richmond veteran Chris Newman suffered a suspected calf injury.
Mathew Stokes, Steve Johnson and Jimmy Bartel were all impressive for Geelong, while Tigers midfielder Dan Jackson tallied a game-high 34 disposals.