Richmond have emerged from a week of turmoil to score a pressure-relieving 15-point win over Collingwood at the MCG.
The Pies looked set to break Tiger hearts when they edged in front late in the final term on Friday night, but Damien Hardwick’s embattled side dug deep to score a gutsy 14.8 (92) to 11.11 (77) victory in front of 49,122 fans.
The Tigers were beaten from pillar to post in the media after their 88-point drubbing by Greater Western Sydney in round 19, and the calls for change appeared set to intensify when they conceded the first four goals of the game.
Collingwood smashed Richmond 13-3 in clearances in the first quarter to lead by 14 points at the first break, and another week of yellow-and-black headlines loomed.
But they showed the sort of spirit they have too often lacked this season to eke out a six-point lead at halftime that became a 12-point advantage at the final break.
Pies skipper Scott Pendlebury looked set to drag his side over line when he kicked the first goal of the last quarter, but he limped out of the game soon after with an ankle injury that proved costly.
A goal to James Aish put Collingwood back in front with less than 10 minutes left, but Dustin Martin, who finished with a game-high 34 possessions, was important as the Tigers held their nerve to kick the last three goals to secure the much-needed win.