Richmond have emerged 43-point winners to sour Brisbane veteran Jonathan Brown’s 250th AFL game.
The only milestone Brisbane marked was winning their first quarter of the year as Richmond surged to a scrappy 15.16 (106) to 9.9 (63) AFL win at the Gabba on Thursday night.
Tigers captain Trent Cotchin (32 touches) worked harder to respond to a well-documented last-round shocker, while Jack Riewoldt’s four goals ensured the Lions’ fans in the 20,676 Gabba crowd were left gutted on a night that promised so much more.
The Brisbane faithful dared to dream that they could toast veteran Jonathan Brown’s 250th game along with new coach Justin Leppitsch’s maiden win.
This was especially the case when Brisbane reeled in a 25-point deficit to hit the lead for the first time midway in the third term after Lewis Taylor’s running goal.
But in the end, the Lions (0-5 record) only had a winning quarter to offer their long-suffering fans despite the efforts of a gallant Brown (four majors, 16 touches).
The Lions won the second term 19-14 – the first quarter in which they had outscored their opposition this year on their 18th attempt.
Brisbane had become the first team not to win a term in the first four rounds since official service Champion Data started collecting AFL stats in 1999.
Richmond brutally responded to Brisbane’s third-term rally, banging in five straight goals to snatch a 9.13 (67) to 7.6 (48) buffer at the final interval.
The Tigers (2-3) went on with it in the final term to seal their sixth straight win over Brisbane – a streak that began back in round seven in 2009.
An erratic Richmond grabbed a 2.8 (20) to 0.1 (1) lead at the first break.
Lions fans had to wait seven minutes into the second term for something to smile about when milestone man Brown goaled in front, notching Brisbane’s first major to cut into Richmond’s 25-point lead.
However, Richmond’s inaccuracy allowed Brisbane back into the contest and the hosts won the second term to trail at halftime 4.10 (34) to 3.2 (20).
And Brisbane hit the lead for the first time (39-36) 13 minutes into the third after Taylor’s goal but that only stunned Richmond into action.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick admitted to some anxious moments in the third term but was relieved his senior players stood tall to ensure they “banked some points”.
“It wasn’t pretty ….but any win away is a crucial win,” he said.
“You have to give credit to Brisbane who are playing for a legend of not only their club but a legend of the game – they were always going to come back hard.”
Leppitsch was encouraged by their third term fightback and the way youngsters responded to challenges such as Nick Robertson marking Cotchin.
“The game was delicately poised for a bit there, we gave up some easy ones (goals) and they nailed us from there,” he said.
Asked if he felt for Brown, Leppitsch said: “Realistically it is more about the team, that is what I am about.”