THE FAREWELL game for legendary coach Alastair Clarkson and veteran Shaun Burgoyne has ended in a thrilling draw, after Jack Riewoldt kicked a goal to level the scores in the dying seconds.
In an emotional match, which was Clarkson's 390th and final game as Hawthorn coach and also served as the last hurrah for Burgoyne and three-time premiership Tiger David Astbury, the Hawks looked home after being 31 points up late in the final term.
TIGERS v HAWKS Full match coverage and stats
But the Tigers ended the match with a flurry of goals, refusing to give Clarkson and Burgoyne the fairytale finish they craved, with the final score finishing at 12.11 (83) apiece.
Richmond was still six points down when the ball was bombed inside 50 with 18 seconds left, and in chaotic scenes, Riewoldt toe-poked the ball through the goals to secure the draw – despite Burgoyne trying valiantly to get his fingers on it before it crossed the line.
Riewoldt and Tom Lynch were effective up forward for Richmond with three goals each, while for the Hawks, Chad Wingard starred with 30 touches and 2.1.
In a scrappy opening to the contest, both sides struggled to get any fluent ball movement early.
But Richmond soon started to get its chaotic forward handball game going, which led to back-to-back goals through Jason Castagna and Mabior Chol.
Hawthorn worked itself back into the contest, kicking the next three goals to take the lead early in the second term.
Clarkson's men entered half-time with a handy 12-point lead, as the Tigers struggled to cope with the Hawks' immense forward-half pressure.
The Hawks continued where they left off in the third term, with Tom Phillips kicking the opening goal – his second – to extend their lead.
Riewoldt finally ended a run of four Hawthorn goals with his first major, and Tom Lynch started to impose himself up forward to keep Richmond in the contest.
Richmond needed a strong start to the final term, but a costly 50m penalty saw Mitch Lewis kick a goal from point-blank range to extend Hawthorn's lead to 23 points.
But while Jack Scrimshaw kicked a goal to put Hawthorn 31 points up in the 19th minute, the Tigers finished off strongly in what turned into one of the games of the season.
Mitchell shines in 150th
While most of the attention at the MCG rightly centred on Alastair Clarkson and retiring duo Shaun Burgoyne and David Astbury, Saturday's clash was also a milestone match for Tom Mitchell, who was playing his 150th game. Mitchell has been a star for Hawthorn since crossing over from Sydney at the end of 2016, with a Brownlow Medal and two best and fairest wins to his name so far. Against the Tigers, Mitchell was his usual prolific self, finishing with 36 touches and four clearances.
Brockman delights with thrilling finish
Tyler Brockman only came into Hawthorn's side on Saturday after Luke Breust was a late out with a knee injury. But the exciting youngster made the most of his opportunity early, kicking an eye-catching goal in the first quarter. After the ball fell out the back in a marking contest, Brockman craftily kicked it off the deck while falling over and saw it bounce perfectly through the goals. The 18-year-old finished with three goals in a promising performance.
Houli gets the chair off treatment
It was a memorable send-off for Alastair Clarkson, Shaun Burgoyne and David Astbury on Saturday, but one retiring star unfortunately missed out on a farewell game. Three-time premiership defender Bachar Houli was unable to take the field against Hawthorn, after suffering a season-ending syndesmosis injury in round 16. But the club ensured he got the send-off he deserved, chairing him off the ground along with Astbury as players from both sides formed a guard of honour.
RICHMOND 3.2 4.6 6.10 12.11 (83)
HAWTHORN 2.2 6.6 9.8 12.11 (83)
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Lynch 3, Bolton 2, Stack 2, Castagna, Chol
Hawthorn: Brockman 3, Wingard 2, Phillips 2, Lewis 2, Hanrahan, Nash, Scrimshaw
Richmond: Ross, Short, Astbury, Lynch, Bolton
Hawthorn: Wingard, Mitchell, O'Meara, Nash, McEvoy
Hawthorn: Breust (knee) replaced in selected side by Brockman, Koschitzke (shoulder)
Richmond: Jake Aarts (replaced Dow)
Hawthorn: Jai Newcombe (replaced Koschitzke)