Jack Riewoldt’s second Coleman Medal was cold comfort for Richmond as another winning chance evaporated late to leave them part of the AFL season’s first draw on Sunday.
The Tigers came from three goals down in the third term against Port Adelaide to be two goals clear at the 25-minute mark of the last, only for the Power to produce a late rally and tie the scores at 16.10 (106) apiece.
Riewoldt kicked six goals to take his season tally to 65 – three clear of Geelong’s Tom Hawkins and Fremantle’s Matthew Pavlich – and clinch another Coleman to go with his 2010 award.
But there was no celebrating after a game the Tigers had entered as clear favourites and for which they had been given extra motivation when Chris Newman announced pre-game it would be his last match as captain.
“Obviously I won the Coleman Medal, but it’s tough, really tough,” Riewoldt said.
“Because to watch your leader and one of your best mates in the captain of this football club say that he’s going to finish up captaining us was really tough.
“Not to get the victory for him was even tougher.
“It’s a bit of a bittersweet feeling.”
Coach Damien Hardwick said it typified a failed season.
The Tigers finished with 10 wins and a draw, but Sunday’s game was their fourth decided by less than a goal, with the other three all losses.
“It summed up our season – not quite good enough when we needed to be,” Hardwick said.
He said Newman had been an outstanding skipper and he had expected the team to show more spirit for him.
“The intensity in last week’s game versus Essendon was unbelievable, this week it was the complete opposite,” he said.
Midfield star Trent Cotchin, Newman’s likely successor, enhanced his Brownlow Medal hopes with 31 hard-won touches, while Brad Ebert (22 disposals, three goals) was excellent for the Power and former Tiger Jay Schulz took 12 marks and kicked four goals.
The draw gave caretaker coach Garry Hocking the only points of his four games in charge, but he is unlikely to push for the permanent job.
“To be able to coach the group over the past four weeks and see their spirit, their character, was really pleasing,” Hocking said.
“That’s all I really wanted to take out of this experience, it’s not to go and throw my hat in the ring.”