RICHMOND'S 12-year finals drought appears over after the Tigers surged to an upset 41-point victory over premiership favourite Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday afternoon.

Damien Hardwick's men led by 22 points during the first quarter, were held goalless in the second term, then booted 10 goals to three in wet and slippery conditions after half-time and won 16.11 (107) to 9.12 (66).

It was the Tigers' second win over Hawthorn in succession, coming after they thrashed the Hawks by 62 points in round nine last year.

In the process, Richmond kept the Hawks to their lowest score of the season and became the first team other than Geelong to beat them in 2013.

"There's no doubt it instils belief," Hardwick said after the game. "I think our playing group has had that belief, but there's no doubt it's a fair injection in the arm.

"We've known we're a capable side. But the thing that's been disappointing for us is that the sides above us have certainly exposed a little bit of a gap.

"Today we really challenged ourselves to make that gap smaller. I was pleased from that point of view."

As more than 64,000 people watched on (a record crowd for a match between the clubs), the Tigers set up their 12th victory of the season by dominating in-close.

They claimed the first 13 clearances of the game, and finished with a 54 to 36 ascendancy in that area. They also won 146 contested possessions to 114.

"We haven't played that badly for some time," Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson lamented. "We've got some work to do.

"We played a good side today. They out-hunted us, and as soon as they were able to that, then we were chasing leather and chasing Richmond jumpers and that makes it pretty difficult."

Skipper Trent Cotchin was among the many heroes for the winners. He worked tirelessly in the midfield and finished with 34 possessions, nine tackles and nine clearances.

Brandon Ellis, Shaun Grigg and Dustin Martin also won plenty of the ball.

Martin was wasteful with his kicking for much of the game, but his 50m goal just before the three-quarter time siren was a crucial contribution.

Jack Riewoldt was the key contributor on the scoreboard with three goals, while Shane Edwards, Luke McGuane, Matt White and Daniel Jackson all kicked two.

Richmond's other heroes were down back. Alex Rance did a brilliant job on Lance Franklin, who went into the game full of confidence after booting eight goals against Essendon last weekend.

Rance held Franklin to only one major, while David Astbury and Troy Chaplin combined to keep Coleman Medal contender Jarryd Roughead goalless for the first time this year.

A number of Hawthorn's other big-name players failed to fire.

Cyril Rioli had no influence on the game, nor did the Hawks' captain Luke Hodge, who spent much of the afternoon deep in defence minding the Tigers' resting ruckman.

Star midfielder Sam Mitchell gathered 26 disposals, but he failed to have his usual impact.

Key defender Brian Lake was among the few Hawthorn players who could hold their heads high, while Isaac Smith finished with 29 touches.

Hawthorn will be aiming to get back on the winners' list when it meets lowly St Kilda at Etihad Stadium next Friday night.

Richmond will be aiming to keep its bandwagon rolling when it hosts the Brisbane Lions at the MCG next Saturday afternoon.

Brandon Ellis hasn't had to wait as long as Tiger fans for September action.  Picture: AFL Media

HAWTHORN      3.4    6.8    7.10     9.12      (66)
RICHMOND        6.4    6.6   10.10   16.11   (107)
Hawthorn: Puopolo 2, Franklin, Lewis, Smith, Burgoyne, Guerra, Ceglar, Hodge
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, McGuane 2, Edwards 2, White 2, Jackson 2, Maric, Newman, Foley, Martin, Tuck
Hawthorn: Smith, Lake, Lewis, Puopolo
Richmond: Rance, Cotchin, Ellis, Maric, Grigg, Chaplin, Martin, Astbury, Jackson
Hawthorn: Max Bailey (corked hip) replaced in selected side by Jonathon Ceglar
Richmond: Nil
Hawthorn: Brendan Whitecross replaced Jonathon Ceglar in the third quarter.
Richmond: Shane Tuck replaced Orren Stephenson in the third quarter.
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Margetts, Nicholls, Pannell
Official crowd: 64,324 at the MCG