RICHMOND 0.13.7 (85)
HAWTHORN 0.13.6 (84)
RICHMOND's preseason of optimism bubbled along yesterday, thanks to Jack Riewoldt returning home and fulfilling every footballer's childhood dream.
Riewoldt's after-the-siren goal from 35 metres out on a 45 degree angle delivered his side a 0.13.7 (85) to 0.13.6 (84) win over Hawthorn in front of a crowd of 8601 at Aurora Stadium, consigning the Hawks to a winless NAB Cup series.
It was Hawthorn's third loss by a point, the second time after the siren.
The first, ironically, was also delivered off the boot of a Tasmanian, Gold Coast's Luke Russell in the first week of the series.
But of even greater worry is the serious knee injury to one of its key weapons off half-back, Matt Suckling.
The 24-year-old's right knee buckled under him while trying to evade a tackle from Troy Chaplin in the third quarter, and post-match coach Alastair Clarkson believed he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament.
A contest that had its moments of triumph and tragedy was one that was covered in preseason rust.
Played in hot conditions, it was a scrappy game with its fair share of errors, and its closeness on the scoreboard was its most attractive feature.
Richmond started better, kicking four of the first five goals on the back of some fluent movement from half-back.
But the Hawks lifted their intensity to level it 0.4.1 (25) a piece at the first change.
It was in the second quarter that Riewoldt started to put his stamp on the game.
But it was through his unselfishness, such as setting up an alone-in-the-goal-square for Shaun Grigg instead of kicking one himself from straight in front, that attracted the most attention.
And his commitment could also not be questioned, even to the point that he found himself on the other side of the fence for a brief moment.
Riewoldt and Jake King gave the Tigers the more lively looking attack, and they took a 19-point lead into the long break.
But the Hawks, thanks to two goals to defender-turned-forward Matt Spangher, got themselves back into the contest.
When the three-quarter time siren sounded, they led by four points.
But in a prelude of things to come, Bachar Houli slotted a goal after the bell to give the Tigers a narrow break.
While the majority of the game had involved the Hawks playing catch-up, the final quarter was a goal-for-goal affair.
It had its heroes, with Jarryd Roughead kicking three for the Hawks and former skipper Chris Newman scoring two for the Tigers, before Riewoldt lived his dream.
Captain Trent Cotchin (28 disposals), Brett Deledio (24) and Houli (24) were the best for the winners, with Riewoldt and Newman kicking three each, while Chaplin (who was subbed off at three quarter-time) and Alex Rance were solid in defence.
Roughead finished with five for the losers, with Sam Mitchell his usual industrial self with 29 touches, and Brad Hill, Isaac Smith, Jordan Lewis and Shaun Burgoyne also impressing.
Beauty Point's Sam Lonergan had seven touches in his Tigers debut before being subbed off, while Devonport's Grant Birchall had 16 possessions in his first game of the year for the Hawks.
Both Hawthorn and Richmond will have practice matches next weekend, before round 1 clashes against Geelong and Carlton respectively.