TWO OUT of three ain't bad, but three out of four is even better. Richmond's rollercoaster season was capped off with its third flag in recent years, marking a 'Dimmasty', as some fans are terming it. The Tigers did it the hard way – some of it their own making – overcoming two disruptive hub breaches, a groping incident during the club song, numerous injuries to key players, and losing the qualifying final.


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What worked 

Once again, Richmond managed to uncover decent players in the midst of injuries and unavailability. Forward Jake Aarts got his chance in his second AFL season, Oleg Markov showed great promise in defence when called upon and Shai Bolton starred when moved to the midfield. After an apprenticeship in various positions, Noah Balta has now locked down a long-term role at fullback, and can also provide relief in the ruck. 

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Noah lets rip from outside the arc

Tiger utility Noah Balta gets mobbed by teammates after unleashing an absolute pearler from around 60m out

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What failed

It's nit-picking in a premiership year, but the slow start to the season made qualifying for finals more difficult than it needed to be. The Tigers looked lethargic and sloppy after the long break between rounds one and two, and struggled against sides like Collingwood and Hawthorn who employed a "keepings off" kick-mark game. David Astbury battled hard as a second ruck after Ivan Soldo's season-ending injury, but looks much more comfortable in his usual defensive post. 

YELLOW AND BLACK TO BACK Tigers stun Cats in epic Grand Final comeback


In a resounding endorsement of Richmond's rookie selections, Jayden Short took out the club's best and fairest in a premiership year. While benefiting from a full season, Short was the model of consistency off half-back. Had a season-high 26 disposals against Sydney in a torrid game in round six, but saved his best till last, finishing second in the Norm Smith count. 

SHORT AND SWEET 2020 Tigers defender rises from rookie to B & F

Jayden Short with his 2020 Jack Dyer Medal. Picture:

Get excited 

While Noah Balta grabbed the headlines with Alex Rance comparisons, Shai Bolton starred when moved to the midfield in Shane Edwards' absence. The lightly framed 21-year-old handled the rigours of stoppages well, creating his own space and using the footy effectively. Bolton rose to another level in the Dreamtime game at Darwin, winning the Yiooken Award after 29 touches, five marks, five clearances and a goal. 

HARDWICK How do you separate '17, '19 and '20?

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Two belters in one magical minute for Bolton

Shai Bolton is in the mood and kicks a brilliant double in the Tigers' charge

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Josh Caddy struggled to hold his spot in Richmond's best 22, playing just eight games for the season. While sidelined for a few weeks with calf and hamstring complaints, he seems to be somewhat lost about his position within the team. Marlion Pickett and Kamdyn McIntosh are preferred on the wing, and there's an excess of mid-sized and small forwards.

Josh Caddy's 2020 had various speed bumps of its own. Picture: AFL Photos

Best moment

The 26-point win over Geelong in round 17 was a highlight, Kane Lambert's two final-quarter goals in the preliminary final was also up there, but could it be anything other than 'Dusty'? Superstar Dustin Martin booted four goals in the Grand Final win to be awarded a historic third Norm Smith Medal. 

TIGERS PLAYER RATINGS No passengers on the Tiger train

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Highlights: Richmond v Geelong

The Tigers and Cats clash in the 2020 grand final

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Low point

Forget just 2020, 'kebab-gate' was the club's lowest point in years. Callum Coleman-Jones and Sydney Stack were hit with 10-match suspensions (and the club with a $100,000 fine) after taking an Uber to a non-approved Gold Coast venue, being involved in a fight and in the case of Stack, being briefly detained by police.

ENDANGERED TIGERS Young duo's futures unclear after COVID ban

How should they approach list management? 

It's going to be a fairly quiet trade period for the Tigers, who were briefly linked to Brad Crouch. Retention is the main focus, but there will be a struggle to keep players who are looking for more senior opportunities. Nathan Broad and Oleg Markov have both been linked to the Suns, but Broad did re-establish himself back in the best 22 by finals, while Jack Higgins' name has also been raised. Looking down the track, the club's key forward depth isn't great, depending on where Coleman-Jones and Ben Miller are best suited.

WHO'S LEAVING? Your club's retirements and delistings

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Special moment for Higgins after goal-line drama

Jack Higgins marks his inspiring return to footy with a wonderful snap on his left following a controversial score review

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Early call for 2021

With the club's senior core – Bachar Houli and Shane Edwards (32 years old), Jack Riewoldt (31), Trent Cotchin (30) and David Astbury, Dustin Martin and Dylan Grimes (29) – entering the latter part of their careers, it's time to push for the three-peat.

Overall rating

Third flag in four years equals an instant A+ (a sentence which would have sounded ludicrous in 2016).