Richmond might be the AFL grand final underdogs but the Tigers don’t fear Adelaide.
Damien Hardwick’s men stormed into their first premiership decider since 1982 with a 36-point preliminary final win over Greater Western Sydney.
With a raucous crowd of 94,258, mostly Richmond fans, roaring them home the Tigers set up the 15.13 (103) to 9.13 (67) win with a pulsating six-goals-to-one third quarter.
The Crows, who finished minor premiers, inflicted Richmond’s heaviest defeat of the season at Adelaide Oval – a 76-point mauling in round six.
Don Pyke’s men advanced to the grand final with a 61-point drubbing of Geelong to go in as favourites but the Tigers aren’t daunted by recent history.
“I’ve been waiting since round six to get this opportunity to come back and play them again,” Hardwick said.
“It’s funny … you generally learn more from your losses and we learnt a significant amount about how we played and how well they played.
“There’s no doubt we go in as underdogs – that’s the harsh reality of it.
“They’re a fantastic side, they’ve put everyone to the sword, but we give ourselves a chance. If we play our best we’re capable of beating anyone.”
Richmond emerged from the win over the Giants unscathed on the injury front, but face a nervous wait for Monday’s AFL match review panel sitting.
Skipper Trent Cotchin will come under scrutiny for a first-quarter clash with Dylan Shiel that saw the Giant leave the game.
Hardwick would not be drawn on the incident.
He was, however, more forthcoming on Cotchin’s pivotal 26-possession, nine-tackle game.
“I thought he was best on ground again … I thought he was outstanding,” Hardwick said.
“There were just a couple of contests where he shouldn’t have been anywhere near it and he either halved it or won it.
“I see a lot of things that others don’t but he’s an incredible player. He’s taken his game to a new level, which is hard to say when he’s a Brownlow medallist.
“I’m just so glad to have him with the way he leads our club. I get a bit emotional speaking about him really because of the way he plays.
“He’s been incredible this year.”