FINDING ways to lose – or maybe more precisely discovering paths to not win, given there has been a draw in the mix – had been Richmond's storyline of 2022.

But finding a way to win in round 20 at the MCG against Brisbane will go down as a great Richmond win, as tough and courageous as any since its three-premiership streak began in 2017.

There is always intrigue attached to the back-end of a multiple premiership-winning team. The pride and belief is always still there. On the best days it is still unbeatable. But there is a vulnerability which opponents gleefully seize upon. That is Richmond this year.

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Last two mins: Nifty Noah helps Tigers blast past Lions

The thrilling final moments between Richmond and Brisbane in round 20

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Sunday for the Tigers was pure heart. Brisbane's big forwards Joe Daniher and Eric Hipwood were unstoppable early. Forty-two points down in the second quarter. Dylan Grimes out of the game with injury in the third quarter. The now-common inaccuracy in front of goal.

Somehow, they found a way. The new rock star Shai Bolton, in the now too-often absence of the old one, Dustin Martin, was brilliant. Even his goal-misses are exciting. Trent Cotchin is just about done. But his courage to keep running and creating options in his 283rd match was epic. Tom Lynch was the match-winner, with four goals and an authority of play in the second half that was mesmerising. Dion Prestia, as always, never stopped trying. Daniel Rioli is must-watch every match, particularly so when given the responsibility of playing on Charlie Cameron. His seize-the-moment long-bomb goal was the actual match-winning act.

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Rioli lights up the 'G with long running ripper

Daniel Rioli kicks an electric goal from range to put Richmond in front

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Sydney in round 11 should have been a Tigers win. It wasn't. Three goals up in the last quarter, six point loss. Similar storyline against Geelong in round 15. Forty points up versus Gold Coast in round 17, an after-siren near-heartbreaking loss. A scoreline of 11.22 in losing, somehow, to the woeful North Melbourne, resulted in a four-point loss. And then the double-Noah (Balta and Cumberland) disaster against Fremantle, where goal chances were missed in the final moments.

Cumberland finished the Dockers game in an emotional state, after choosing to play on as the final siren sounded. That he kicked five goals from six kicks against Brisbane was one of the great stories of the season.

Noah Cumberland celebrates one of his five goals in Richmond's win over Brisbane in round 20, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The Tigers finished round 20 a half-game outside the top eight. Their courage to find a way to win against the Lions when a loss seemed inevitable now has them well placed. Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval), Hawthorn (MCG) and Essendon (MCG) all loom as very winnable, now that order has been restored.

As has been my view all season, if they somehow find a way to qualify for September, there is not one team that will want to face them.

Blight-like spray reveals the cracks at Giants

What a mess. And it's going to get messier.

Greater Western Sydney's plight has become a horror show in 2022. Nine-year coach Leon Cameron was exited after round nine, and his interim replacement, Mark McVeigh, on Saturday night after another embarrassing loss, against Sydney, made some of the more extraordinary public comments by a person in his position in the AFL.

McVeigh's frustrations have clearly mounted weekly during the 10 matches he has been in charge. That he wondered out loud if his players had "checked out" was brutal enough.

But his decision to name eight players, and therefore not name 14 others, who he felt tried took his outburst into Malcolm Blight 1997 territory.

WATCH CENTURIONS NOW Hall of Fame Legend Blight on his brilliant career

GWS caretaker coach Mark McVeigh (right) and (inset) Malcolm Blight coaching Adelaide in 1997. Pictures: AFL Photos

Blight's "particularly with a pathetic effort from (David) Pittman in ruck" wasn't much harsher than McVeigh's "there's just the unfortunate part of dealing with whether players have checked out or not".

And then this: "There were probably eight players that really went to the wall today – (Josh) Kelly, (Lachie) Whitfield, (Harry) Perryman, (Sam) Taylor, (Callan) Ward, (Jesse) Hogan, (Toby) Greene and (Adam) Kennedy. I thought those eight players fought right through to the end and gave absolutely everything. Eight players doing that is not enough."

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Giants targeted in 'ugly situation', heavyweight fires warning shot

Riley Beveridge and Kane Cornes bring you The Round So Far for round 20

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This will be an interesting week for this club, which has actually unravelled this year, its 11th of AFL life. Among the names not mentioned by McVeigh were Tim Taranto, Jacob Hopper, Harry Himmelberg, Nick Haynes and Tom Green.

Taranto is the most interesting of those names. Given this club kicked Aidan Corr out the moment in late 2020 that it knew he had made a commitment to join North Melbourne the following season, there is precedent for what it thinks of such matters. Taranto has long been speculated to be leaving after this season.

I don't agree with what the Giants did with Corr. Just as clubs make decisions on players long before they are officially conveyed, players too should be afforded the same luxury.

GWS' Tim Taranto (left) looks dejected after losing to Sydney in round 20 at the SCG on July 30, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

But McVeigh can't make such comments without him, or his club, following up with equally brutal decisions at selection for next Saturday's match against Essendon. If there is no subsequent action, the words will just sound tough, and not actually be tough.

The fact that those in charge of the Giants opted to bring in James Hird and Dean Solomon to assist McVeigh as his main assistants on match days, despite both not being part of daily operations at the time of Cameron's parting, said as much about the key Giants officials' views of the full-time assistant coaches as McVeigh did about players after the Swans loss.

Everything seems temporary about the Giants right now. Round 23 cannot come quickly enough, and the new coach will be taking over a very broken outfit.

James Hird, Dean Solomon and Mark McVeigh during GWS' clash with Carlton in round 19, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Time for Bevo to make a BIG call

This should be the week the Bulldogs give boom draftee Sam Darcy his first AFL match.

There’s now nothing to lose in 2022. After round 20’s mauling by ladder leader Geelong, it is beyond question that the Bulldogs’ system doesn’t consistently cut it with the very best teams. Coach Luke Beveridge knew this after round 17’s loss to Sydney: “The now is absolutely important for us, but the future is critical to make sure we lay some foundations to make sure we‘re setting ourselves up for what happens in the future.”

The future includes Sam Darcy, and that future should begin next Saturday at Marvel Stadium against Fremantle. He’s probably not ready, but very few players truly are for a debut senior match. And the 208cm Darcy’s latest hitout in the VFL on the weekend saw him tally 20 disposals and 14 marks.

Son of club champion Luke, Sam was taken as a father-son selection in last year’s NAB AFL Draft at No.2 overall. A foot injury curtailed his AFL start, but he has now had two months of VFL match play as a defender, forward and ruck.

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VFL Showreel, R19: Sam Darcy highlights

Enjoy Sam Darcy's standout VFL performance for the Bulldogs

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The key positions at both ends of the ground are a major problem for the Bulldogs. Forward Josh Bruce has not fired in the three matches he has played since returning from a knee reconstruction. And Alex Keath was axed for the round 20 match against Geelong.

Good wins against St Kilda and Melbourne followed Beveridge’s post-Sydney loss comments. The Cats destroyed them on Saturday, though, largely through an unbroken nine-goal streak, the latest opposition scoring surge that has become a disturbing and damning habit which Beveridge has been unable to stop, dating back to the third quarter of last year’s Grand Final against Melbourne.

In that GF loss, the Dogs embarrassingly conceded 12 goals straight, and 16 of the final 17. In round one this year against the same opponent, they gave up six straight goals in another loss. In round four against the Tigers, it was seven straight. Round 12 versus the Cats, six goals straight. In the Swans loss, it was five goals without response which set the tone of the 53-point loss.

Tom Liberatore, Bailey Smith and Marcus Bontempelli at the final siren of the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

The Dogs are obviously and somehow still a 2022 finals chance, and they have winnable match-ups in their remaining matches – Fremantle at Marvel Stadium, GWS (Marvel) and Hawthorn (UTAS Stadium).

But their best crack at making the eight may rest with a massive point of difference in a 208cm uncapped 19-year-old beanpole.