RICHMOND 2.2 4.3 10.7 13.10 (88)
GOLD COAST 4.2 7.9 9.9 13.12 (90)
The Gold Coast Suns have won their first game of the year in sensational circumstances at Cazaly Stadium on a warm night in Cairns.
Richmond, who led by 10 points with less than 30 seconds left in the match, were outdone by a fantastic Jarrod Harbrow running goal and a quite unbelievable after-the-siren conversion from Rugby League convert Karmichael Hunt.
In a game that is sure to be remembered for a long time, it was Hunt’s 30-metre kick that went sailing through the big sticks to the delight of the Queensland crowd after Brandon Matera found his famous teammate with a desperate snap with just a second on the clock.
Hunt’s goal condemned Richmond to their second loss to the Gold Coast in as many years and to a certain frosty reception from the loyal Tiger Army upon their return to Melbourne.
The game started in spectacular fashion from Gold Coast, with the struggling and winless Suns getting off to a multiple goal lead in the second quarter and leading by four goals at halftime.
With the Gold Coast in front at quarter time for the sixth time, it all seemed to be going downhill as a Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio inspired outfit fired to lead the Tigers to a slim three quarter time buffer.
With the Suns out on their feet in the last quarter and former Hawk Campbell Brown dropping a number of golden opportunities to get his adopted side back into the match – it took an unlucky but careless 50-metre free kick against Addam Maric for kicking the ball away after a whistle to help the Gold Coast swing the momentum their way in the final minutes.
In-demand young midfielder Josh Caddy burst through the middle of the field to give the Suns their first, before former-Bulldog Jarrod Harbrow did the same moments later to reduce the margin to under a goal.
Substitute Aaron Hall played a major part in both goals but when Shaun Grigg cleared from the bounce with 20 seconds to go – all seemed lost.
Dion Prestia’s desperate smother changed that and with 15 seconds left, Trent McKenzie delivered a trademark barrel, which was to be picked up on the run by Matera and blindly sent the way of Hunt.
Immediately surrounded by star teammates Gary Ablett and Harley Bennell, Hunt sucked in a breath and converted from 30 metres out at a slight angle.
It was a fairytale ending, with the celebratory Suns scrub sure to be a timeless image in the future for the club.
Although the beloved, revered and presumably underpaid AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou had somehow found himself on a six-week hiatus during the season – he was said to be delighted at the news.
3 – Trent Cotchin was unbelievable for the Tigers with 38 possessions and 4-tackle game; surely the next Richmond captain after Chris Newman retires.
2 – Gary Ablett was standard, with a casual 33 disposal and 5 tackle game , topped off with 1 goal 1.
1 – Jack Riewoldt booted 5 in a losing side, though his typical theatrics overshadowed the dominant performance.
Richmond: Riewoldt 5, Nahas 4, McGuane 2, Graham, Maric.
Gold Coast: J Hall 2, Matera 2, Hunt 2, Ablett, Benell, Hunt, A Hall, Brown, Caddy, Swallow.
Richmond: Ivan Maric (groin) replaced in the selected side by Angus Graham, Ben Griffiths (calf) replaced in selected side by Jeromey Webberley, Jake Batchelor (leg), Chris Newman (head)
Gold Coast: Nil
Richmond: Brett O’Hanlon replaced Jeromey Webberley in the second quarter
Gold Coast: Aaron Hall replaced Josh Hall in the third quarter
Official crowd: 10,961 at Cazaly’s Stadium