Richmond players celebrate a goal during round 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

AS THE song goes, Richmond never weakens until the final siren's gone, and a Liam Baker snap has capped off a six-goal turnaround to overhaul a desperate Hawthorn and win by one point.

The tenacious Tiger snapped truly to give his side the lead with 63 seconds remaining, the 14.12 (96) to 15.5 (95) victory keeping their finals hopes alive.

It's a crushing blow for the Hawks, who played an incredibly ferocious brand of footy for the first three quarters, but tired to concede the final six goals of the match stemming to just before the final break.


Hawthorn found plenty of space early through the middle of the ground, threatening with plenty of run off half-back. The forward-at-all-costs approach was capped off by a toe-poke goal from Finn Maginness, which took the fast start out to a 19-point lead.

Chad Wingard was somewhat out of favour a month ago, but recorded 10 disposals in the first quarter and finished with 17 and three goals for the game in a vintage performance across half-forward.

TIGERS v HAWKS Full match coverage and stats

Ben Miller soared high from out of play to mark an off-target Dustin Martin shot, then converted a snap from the tightest of angles to tie up the scores at the start of the second quarter.

But it was a rare highlight for the home side for that term, as the Hawks piled on six straight goals with a scintillating burst, adding cleanliness to their usual grunt and endeavour around the footy.


The Tigers rarely had an answer to the Hawks' fast plays from the centre bounces, the midfielders in the sash struggling to clog up their defensive side of the stoppage.

Trent Cotchin had two horror rushed and missed shots at goal from point-blank range throughout the game, the first after a surprise handball from Miller and the second choosing to play on from 15m, clipping the post.

Mitch Lewis booted four goals in an engaging battle with Noah Balta, who took 14 marks and kept the Tigers alive as the Hawks piled on the pressure.

Ned Reeves will come under MRO scrutiny for a sling tackle on Ivan Soldo in the first quarter. The Hawks ruck was reported and gave away a free kick, but his Tigers counterpart did not leave the field.


A captain's performance
James Sicily set the tone from the opening bounce, his long sleeves soaring above the pack in defensive 50 time and time again, building a wall that the Tigers could not break. He was particularly crucial in a few late contests with Jack Riewoldt as the Tigers charged home, but ultimately to no avail. Conversely, it highlighted the enormous absence of Tom Lynch to play alongside a flagging Riewoldt, with Ben Miller not quite having the same physical presence in contested marking situations.

James Sicily takes a mark during round 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Next-gen midfield steal the show
Jai Newcombe, James Worpel and Conor Nash were up against a No.2 pick (Tim Taranto), No.7 pick (Jacob Hopper) and a No.9 pick (Dion Prestia), but well and truly outplayed their more decorated counterparts for three quarters. Newcombe in particular was superb, his creative handballs setting up his teammates on the outside, while Worpel was a strong body round the contest. The trio dropped off as the heat lifted in the final term, but it's a combination that'll dominate for years to come.

Jai Newcombe gets a handball away during round 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Sparky sub impresses on debut
Mid-season recruit Matt Coulthard came into the game halfway in the third quarter, but really kicked into gear at the start of the fourth term. The lightly built South Australian played key roles in Richmond's first two goals after the final break, finding plenty of space and showing a nice pair of heels and some key composure to find teammates in front of the big sticks.



RICHMOND      3.2     6.6     9.9     14.12  (96)
HAWTHORN     4.2     10.3   15.3    15.5   (95)

Richmond: Taranto 3, Baker 2, Martin 2, Graham, Hopper, Miller, Soldo, Bolton, Riewoldt, McIntosh
Hawthorn: Lewis 4, Wingard 3, Brockman 2, Breust 2, Worpel, Maginness, Newcombe, Moore

Richmond: Prestia, Taranto, Balta, Ross, Graham
Hawthorn: Newcombe, Sicily, Worpel, Amon, Lewis

Richmond: Nil
Hawthorn: Nil

Richmond: Matthew Coulthard (replaced Tylar Young in the third quarter)
Ned Long (replaced Denver Grainger-Barras in the third quarter)

Crowd: 57,654 at the MCG