Richmond midfielder Connor Menadue says the VFL Tigers will have redemption in the back of their minds when they take on Port Melbourne in a preliminary final on Saturday afternoon at Adcon Stadium.
The Tigers, who secured the minor premiership for the second year in a row, suffered an unexpected straight sets finals exit in 2018.
It was heartbreak the year prior too, as Richmond faced a four-point Grand Final loss to the Borough.
When the same two sides meet again this weekend to battle for a spot in the big dance, Menadue said the Tigers will seek to "bring (their) A game” to Port Melbourne’s home deck.
“Everyone’s really excited,” he said.
“We had the weekend off so that was good to get a little freshen up.”
The Borough, who finished seventh on the ladder, have proven themselves as a dark horse of the finals, stamped by an upset semi-final win over Footscray last Saturday.
Both sides will come into the clash with plenty of momentum, but Menadue believes the continuity within the Richmond VFL program, as showcased throughout the year, will hold the Tigers in good stead.
“It’s pretty hard to just flick the switch on in finals, you’ve got to have a good lead up,” he said.
While the two sides haven’t faced off since Round 2 this year, Menadue said the Tigers are cognisant of how to combat Port Melbourne’s high-pressure style.
“They’ve had a couple of really good wins…I think we’ve got to hunt the ball and try and beat them in the contest and hopefully use our ball on the outside,” he said.
Perhaps most importantly, the Tigers will bring their unwavering belief into Saturday’s clash, which was fostered in their huge qualifying final comeback win over Essendon.
“When we play the ‘Richmond Man’, we’re pretty hard to beat, and that’s what we did in the last quarter (against Essendon),” Menadue said.
“We didn’t play great against Essendon but that last quarter was a great performance by the boys so we’re going to take that into the next game.”
Leading the charge will be esteemed Richmond VFL coach Craig McRae, who was this week recognised as VFL Coach of the Year.
Menadue said he was “rapt” for the well-deserving recipient.
“He deserved it completely, the boys love him,” Menadue said.
“He’s done a lot for me, you can talk to him about anything.”
Tickets to Saturday’s preliminary final are available here. Those unable to make it to the clash can watch it live on Channel 7 from 2.00pm.