Richmond has fallen to Collingwood in its opening Marsh Community Series clash, going down 6.8 (44) to 13.6 (84) in Wangaratta.
Just four months after fearing his AFL career could be over as he prepared for brain surgery, Jack Higgins made a heart-warming return to senior football for Richmond.
In his first official game since Round 13 last year, the 20-year-old small forward will have gained enormous confidence he can reassert himself in the Richmond line-up.
Popular Tiger Higgins set up the first goal of the afternoon after being rewarded for a tackle, and handballing off to Jayden Short who bombed a long goal.
Shortly before quarter-time the pocket rocket went off with a bloodied nose after copping a high tackle, and when he returned in the second term he won a free kick after bravely committing to an aerial ball against two Magpies.
Higgins, who spent some time in the midfield, also had a hand in another goal to Mabior Chol in the third term as the Tigers fought back.
The Pies started into a two-goal breeze but dominated the first term with five goals to one to lead by 25 points at the first change – a lead they maintained to half-time.
Richmond fought back to within nine points in the third quarter, but kicked 2.6 to Collingwood’s three behinds for the term before the Pies kicked away again.
Both teams were severely depleted given Friday night's State of Origin for Bushfire Relief game, which featured 11 Tigers and Magpies combined – Richmond stars Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin, Tom Lynch, Jack Riewoldt, Bachar Houli and Shane Edwards and Collingwood guns Scott Pendlebury, Brodie Grundy, Steele Sidebottom, Darcy Moore and Jeremy Howe.
Richmond, which featured 14 members of last year's premiership side, was perhaps best served by diminutive runners Liam Baker (30 disposals) and Short (25 disposals).
RICHMOND 1.0 4.0 6.6 6.8 (44)
COLLINGWOOD 5.1 8.1 8.4 13.6 (84)
Richmond: Short, Lambert, Prestia, Caddy, Coleman-Jones, Chol
Collingwood: De Goey 3, Daicos 2, Cameron 2, Elliott, Reid, Mihocek, Cox, Crisp, Phillips
Richmond: Baker, Short, Broad, Caddy, Grimes
Collingwood: Treloar, Mayne, Adams, De Goey, Noble, Daicos, Maynard
Official crowd: TBC at Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta