Hardwick feels Richmond 'heartbeat' returning
Damien Hardwick laughed off the suggestion it was his "I told you so" moment.
But the glint in the Richmond coach's eye suggested he enjoyed silencing the critics - at least temporarily - with a 24-point upset of Geelong on Friday night.
A second-straight win improved the Tigers' record to 3-1-5 after a horror start to the season had critics calling an end to their premiership era.
"I've certainly got a lot of belief and I think the playing group is starting to feel that little heartbeat coming back," Hardwick said post-match.
"It looked Richmond-like - dirty goals, the way we got the ball to ground and the way we charged in.
"There was a bit of play in the last quarter when the ball was on the goalline and there's bodies flying everywhere - that's a Richmond game.
"That's what the fabric of our footy club has been built on for a number of years and we're starting to see that come back in our playing group."
Former Richmond captain Trent Cotchin, whose value to the team has been questioned this year, stepped up with three goals against the Cats.
Fellow thirty-something Dustin Martin booted four in his best return of the season to date.
But it was a pair of teammates at the other end who arguably played the most important roles.
Noah Balta recovered from a poor start, in which he gave up two early goals to Tom Hawkins, to play a crucial role on the Cats' spearhead.
And Nathan Broad claimed another scalp when he limited Coleman Medal leader Jeremy Cameron to one late goal when the game was already over.
"Some of the things (Balta) does in the contest, just incredible," Hardwick said.
"Those two guys (Balta and Hawkins), if you look at them, they're both big, strong men and the battles that they have are incredible.
"And I thought Broady did a wonderful job on Cameron.
"It's funny, whilst in our four walls he's really highly regarded, he probably doesn't get the respect outside that."
The only sour note for Richmond was Jacob Hopper's calf injury, which led to the midfielder being substituted out of the game during the third quarter.
Hopper will undergo scans on Saturday.
"He'll miss some time. I'm not sure how long but hopefully it's not too serious," Hardwick said.