That was the main thread of coach Craig McRae’s message to his players before, during and after their 26-point preliminary final win over Port Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.
Richmond VFL booked a place in the 2019 VFL Grand Final on the back of a six-goal-to-one final term at Adcon Stadium.
The Tigers were challenged ferociously by the Borough, who were fuelled by the raucous support of the pro-Port Melbourne crowd.
Richmond’s will and fight are akin to a seasoned heavyweight boxer - if they’re to be overcome, their opponent will need to fight right to the bell.
On their home deck, Port Melbourne started the game in roaring fashion kicking the first goal, before Richmond piled on four goals in quick succession on the back of its swarming defence.
The Tigers forced turnovers at will, looked razor sharp on the outside and efficient inside 50.
Connor Menadue carried his form from the qualifying final two weeks ago into the first quarter, electric with ball in hand and deadly in front of goal.
Menadue kicked the Tigers’ opener and added another before quarter time to cap off a stellar opening term.
The speedy onballer finished the game with three goals, 26 vital disposals and four tackles.
The Tigers’ speed was telling, be it defensively or with ball in hand, and Menadue scorched the North Port Oval turf with his slicing run-and-carry game.
Goals to Luke English, Mabior Chol and Mav Weller made it five for the Tigers, who led by 13 points at the first break.
A flashpoint in the second term swung the tide.
Jake Aarts collected Tom O’Sullivan while trying to spoil the Port Melbourne midfielder and the Borough took umbrage.
Aarts was reported and O’Sullivan took no further part in the game.
The collision added another sprinkle of spice to an already raging contest and it sparked Port Melbourne.
A four-goal burst handed the Borough a six-point lead and the locals were roaring.
Tempers spilled over once again as the teams split for half-time - no love lost and not a backward step would be taken in the frenetic second half.
The Tigers once again found themselves trailing at three-quarter time but the trust and belief that is etched in the Tigers’ hearts lifted them off the canvas and ignited a barnstorming comeback.
The third term was an armwrestle, with Port Melbourne jagging two goals to one as the Tigers squandered chances inside 50.
The assignment was set, if Richmond was to extend its campaign by another week, it would have to once again overcome a deficit, this time it was three points.
Richmond’s belief would be called upon as the Borough kicked the opening goal of the final term and once again it was unwavering.
The last quarter fightback was about moments, and a host of Tigers seized them when they arose.
Patrick Naish lit the fire.
As the ball was bubbling around inside Richmond’s forward 50 and nearly trickling over the boundary line, Jacob Townsend swooped and spotted up Naish all on his own.
The dashing young wingman with nerves of steel, speared through his set-shot and the Tigers’ belief started to swell.
Naish curled home the final goal of the game and elevated his standing with a damaging last quarter.
Oleg Markov - quiet by his standards for the first three quarters - shot to life with back-to-back goals in a minute to snatch the lead back for the Tigers.
The first a crumb and snap which gave Richmond a two-point lead, the next a set-shot which sailed over the goal umpire’s hat, extending the lead to eight points.
Richmond’s tall forwards weren’t having their greatest day until Chol and Callum Moore rose to prominence – quite literally.
Then up stepped Chol.
As Fraser Turner hacked the ball forward, Chol skipped goalside of his opponent and soccered through the sealing goal.
North Port Oval was now awash in a sea of Yellow and Black and the Tigers were home.
Marlion Pickett’s standing in the competition rose once again after his last quarter efforts.
Pickett seems to have a heightened sense of occasion and is serene amongst the chaos, and with the game in the balance, the smooth-moving midfielder’s influence on this contest was profound.
If he wasn’t slicing open the Borough, he was drifting back with the flight halting Port Melbourne’s thrusts forward.
English, Riley Collier-Dawkins and Jack Ross were in no way overawed by the occasion of their first preliminary final. The trio were ballistic in the clinches, setting the tone for others to follow.
Collier-Dawkins was combative, Ross took collateral damage, and English, whilst unassuming, willed himself from contest to contest.
The trust and belief in this group will hold it in good stead for what’s to come next.
RICHMOND 5.3 7.6 8.12 14.15 (99)
PORT MELB 3.2 7.6 9.9 10.13 (73)
Richmond: Menadue (3), Chol (2), Markov (2), Naish (2), Aarts, Butler, English, Moore, Weller
Port Melbourne: Gasper (2), Lisle (2), Templeton (2), Conway, Haretuku, Phillips, Signorello