Brisbane Lions veteran Jonathan Brown got a special sendoff in his 250th AFL game but Richmond savoured something more significant – a win.
The sight of champion Brisbane Lions forward Jonathan Brown being chaired off the ground via a guard of honour after his 250th AFL game was special.
But it was Richmond coach Damien Hardwick who left the Gabba on Thursday night savouring something he believed was much more significant – a win.
Brown, 32, stood tall in his milestone match with four goals, 16 touches and nine marks but Richmond gatecrashed the party to run out 43-point victors thanks to their key seniors Trent Cotchin (32 touches) and Jack Riewoldt (four goals).
Asked if he felt for Brown, Lions coach Justin Leppitsch said: “Realistically it is more about the team, to be perfectly frank.
“It would have been great for Browny to win.
“But I am more worried about the team and where it is going.
“(And) winning is the part that builds a bit of confidence and morale within the group.”
There was no better proof of that than Hardwick after Richmond responded brutally to the Lions threatening to celebrate Brown’s landmark game when they snatched a surprise third term lead.
“They were playing for a legend, not just of their club but a legend of the game, they were always going to come back hard, Hardwick said of the win-less Brisbane (0-5).
“I always thought our boys would come back, we just had to get a few set ups right to get the game back on our terms which we eventually did.
“We banked some points and that’s the important thing.”
Richmond steadied with a 2-3 record after Riewoldt and Dustin Martin combined with a total of seven goals in a new-look forward line without Ty Vickery, a victim of team balance according to Hardwick.
In another boost, Richmond may welcome back Alex Rance (foot) and Brett Deledio (Achilles) next round against Hawthorn.
But there may be no such luck for Brisbane who were forced to field 10 players with less than 25 games experience with stars Daniel Rich, Matthew Leuenberger, Pearce Hanley (injury) and Daniel Merrett (suspension) sidelined.
“I think we are pretty realistic,” Leppitsch said of their outlook.
“We’ve had some injuries, we’ve had a tough fixture. Weve had all those excuses to lean on but given all that … we would like to fight it out and get a win but we weren’t able to do that.
“We have been hit with a few things in the last few weeks but footy dishes up all this stuff.
“I have been in this game 22 years now at this level, I have seen some highs and seen some lows – (but) it turns around.”