From whipping boy to AFL premiers' star

Richmond's much-maligned forward Jack Riewoldt has enjoyed the last laugh.

Riewoldt, a whipping boy for frustrated fans and opinionated pundits throughout his 225-game AFL career, was overcome with emotion after the Tigers' grand-final win on Saturday.

"Who would have thought we finished 13th last year, beaten by (113) points in the last round and now we're f------ premiers," Riewoldt said in his on-field interview.

Riewoldt was the subject of trade gossip last year, while even this September he had his fair share of critics after Richmond's wins in week one and three of the finals.

The 28-year-old delivered on football's grandest stage, booting two goals and laying a team-high seven tackles.

There was an early screamer and serious nerves, with Riewoldt missing the Tigers' opening three chances to kick a goal.

But he continued to apply serious pressure, with the highlight being a pair of run-down tackles in the opening half.

If asked whether Richmond were grand-final material at this point last year, Riewoldt would have given you an honest answer.

"Probably no," Riewoldt said during Friday's parade.

He wouldn't have been alone.

His side finished 13th on the ladder, a board challenge was brewing and the knives were out for coach Damien Hardwick.

But a lot has changed in the ensuing 12 months, during which Riewoldt has been at the fore of an incredible Tigers turnaround.

They key forward has played a far more selfless role in 2017 but finished the season with 54 goals.

Legendary coach Paul Roos suggested the Tasmanian was unlucky to miss out on All-Australian selection.

"He has really owned that forward line group, it has been special to see," captain Trent Cotchin said.