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'I let the boys down': Tiger skipper Cotchin left empty after nine-touch game

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 13: Chris Newman (left) and Trent Cotchin of the Tigers embrace after Newman's last match during the 2015 AFL First Elimination Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia on September 13, 2015. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Trent Cotchin and Chris Newman leave the field after Sunday's loss
As captain you want to be there at the coalface winning the ball for your team. That's my job and I didn't perform that today
Trent Cotchin

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RICHMOND captain Trent Cotchin says he let his teammates down in Sunday's elimination final and didn't do his job after being tagged out of the match by North Melbourne opponent Ben Jacobs.

Cotchin, who has been so crucial to the Tigers' drive into finals, finished with just nine possessions and one clearance in a game where his team was crying out for a contested ball presence.

The nine possessions were the equal-lowest he has ever recorded in his 153-game career.

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Shattered and "empty" after his team's immediate finals exit for the third straight season, Cotchin vowed to return in 2016 "ready to take it to any opposition we come across".

"It starts at the top and with me. I let the boys down," Cotchin said.

"As captain you want to be there at the coalface winning the ball for your team. That's my job and I didn't perform that today.

"Credit to Jacobs, he was fantastic all day. He didn't give me an inch of space. He also got plenty of help from his teammates.

"One thing I'll take out of the game is I'll be back again next year ready to take it to any opposition we come across."

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Cotchin said the Tigers needed to reflect on their individual performances on Sunday and take ownership of them after being outplayed in the contested situations.

"It's moments where you pick and choose, you're not able to do that in AFL footy. It's a tough game," he said.

"The reality is a team came out that little bit hungrier today.

"We gave ourselves an opportunity and let ourselves down with contested footy and clearances.

"The challenge for us is to get back on the horse over pre-season and come back bigger and better."

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Asked if his teammates offered him enough support on Sunday, Cotchin said: "They did early. There's different moments in games where they can give you a chop out and there's different moments where you have to tell them to stick to their role".

Coach Damien Hardwick, who delivered a thunderous post-match address to his players, said players could only help so much when a star teammate was being tagged.

"He's a quality player. It doesn't happen often. It happened today and he'll learn from it, he'll bounce back," Hardwick said of Cotchin.  

"Could we have helped him out more? The tape will give the answer to that and I'll have a look at that as well. We probably could have."

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Jacobs, who finished with nine possessions and eight tackles, kept Cotchin to two possessions in each of the final three quarters.

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