A HAMSTRING injury to captain Trent Cotchin is set to take some of the shine off Richmond's resounding comeback win over the previously unbeaten Western Bulldogs on Friday night.
Cotchin is set to miss "some weeks" after coming from the field in the dying stages of his side's 22-point win over the Dogs, where he was substituted out of the match and replaced by Patrick Naish.
It soured an otherwise impressive night for the Tigers, who kicked five unanswered goals on either side of half-time to storm from 25 points behind to secure a thrilling victory over the in-form Bulldogs.
Cotchin had been pivotal to the side's response after the main break, finishing with 24 disposals and seven clearances before he was made to come from the field with a tweaked hamstring.
"I think it's a hamstring, unfortunately," Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said afterwards.
"He was incredible tonight, I thought he really led from the front and was part of the resurgence. But he'll obviously miss some weeks, we're not too sure how many it will be.
"It's disappointing. It's just sad to see great players not playing. We're going to miss him for a couple of weeks at least."
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Tom Lynch inspired Richmond's remarkable second-half comeback, kicking three goals in the third quarter as the Tigers completed a 47-point turnaround to ruin the Dogs' chances of a 7-0 start.
However, according to Hardwick, he can't take any credit for his side's change of fortunes after fluffing his lines during what was supposed to be a motivational team talk at the main break.
"The leaders really take control of that part," Hardwick said.
"My half-time speech was probably … I lost where I was towards the back-end of it. I said to the players, 'I don't even know what I'm talking about so just go out there and get the job done'. It was a bit funny.
"Our players just lifted. We weren't far off in the first half, we just didn't take our chances and we probably gave them a couple of easy goals. But our effort and intent was there, we just had to be a little bit cleaner. That happened in the second half.
"Our clearance game got up and going, I was really proud of the way the mids responded and got the ball moving forward. If we give our forwards enough entries, we're a chance of winning the game."
Having seemingly got the match on their terms in the first half, the Western Bulldogs didn't win a single possession in their front half of the ground for nearly 20 minutes to start the third term.
But after making 10 changes in two weeks and losing a host of star quality through their impressive midfield group, coach Luke Beveridge said his team suffered from the reality of playing an established premiership side.
"It didn't surprise me," Beveridge said.
"They can find that gear. But it's an example … not through talent or ability, just through hard work and their ethic in there and stealth, we've largely been pretty dominant through that midfield area.
"Tonight, we've had some change sweep through with the way we've had to go about things that both teams needed to make. As I said before the game, I thought that coming into the game their midfield depth – although they were missing a couple of marquee players – was relatively deep compared to the teams we'd been playing against.
"I felt like our group had been able to share the load and sacrifice some of their game and play selfless roles at times, which means you're not always inside … we can't put them all in there.
"Other teams maybe haven't had that depth to coordinate and go with our group. Whereas tonight, looking at their team – even with Riley Collier-Dawkins coming in and one or two others playing roles in there – they were able to match it and then find a way to come over the top."