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Reigning premiers Richmond have revived their stuttering AFL campaign by surging over the top of North Melbourne by 33 points with an irresistible second-half.
The Tigers appeared to be crashing to a seventh defeat from eight games when they trailed the bottom-placed Kangaroos by 26 points late in the second quarter at the MCG.
But the Tigers of old returned after halftime, with a withering seven-goal burst during the third term driving Richmond to a 13.11 (89) to 8.8 (56) victory.
Despite their mediocre form over recent months, Richmond remain in contention to secure a finals berth for the fifth-straight season.
Winners of three of the past four premierships, the Tigers will need to win both of their remaining matches, starting with next week’s game against GWS, to be any chance of finishing inside the top eight.
North, who are continually improving and could still avoid finishing last after appearing certainties to claim the wooden spoon only a month ago, made the Tigers look second-rate early.
Midfielder Jy Simpkin and Cam Zurhaar (four goals) were influential in helping North to a 20-point lead at halftime – as Richmond managed just two goals before the main break.
But a different Tigers team emerged from the rooms for the second half, with Shane Edwards, Liam Baker, Jack Graham and Dion Prestia among the premiership heroes to recapture top form.
In an added boost for Richmond, father-son recruit Maurice Rioli Jnr kicked a goal on his AFL debut and only improved as the game went on.
North were far from disgraced but key forward Nick Larkey would be ruing some easy missed set shots during the second quarter which could have extended the margin out of the Tigers’ reach.
The Kangaroos will finish the season with games against Sydney and Adelaide while the Tigers face the Giants before having to play Hawthorn in Alastair Clarkson’s final match as Hawks coach.