Sunday night's clash at Optus Stadium was a belter for the most part, with West Coast digging deep in the final term to come from behind and topple the reigning premiers in Richmond.

Eagles fans have Josh Kennedy to thank for their nail-biting victory, with his snap in the final minute of the game proving the difference, with the 50,834-strong crowd erupting into euphoric celebration as the Sherrin sailed through.

However, the biggest talking point from the encounter was the fact that the Tigers collapsed in the fourth quarter, the likes of which hasn't really happened in the four years in which they've been at the top.

They looked out on their feet and were second to the ball in the dying stages, with basic skill errors and poor decision making handing Adam Simpson's side four points.

However, the fact of the matter is that this fixture originally wasn't supposed to be played until Thursday night - a full four days later.

The AFL and both clubs saw sense in changing the timing, and admittedly the majority of the footballing world did too, with moving the game a round forward being logistically easier.

Richmond were able to stay in Perth following their Dreamtime match and didn't have to fly back in two weeks later, and with the COVID threat in Victoria still not 100% eradicated, Damien Hardwick's side wouldn't have to circumnavigate possible quarantine restrictions imposed on the fly.

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With this though, the Tigers spent the best part of three weeks away from home, after having to travel to Sydney to play the Crows in Round 11, and then on to Perth for both the Bombers and Eagles games.

Despite most players staying in hubs last year - which meant being away from their families and friends in Victoria for four months - having to uproot and say goodbye to home for three weeks coupled with the uncertainty of their return date would have had a detrimental effect on the players - no matter how big.

Most players have young families, pregnant partners or sometimes both, and having to abandon them for almost a month would put a dent in their morale.

This wouldn't be the main cause for Richmond's collapse, as they did end up showing their strong mental fortitude in 2020, but it might have been a contributing factor.

It looked as if it was their physical conditioning that undercut them last night in the final term, and with the strict fitness regime that AFL football demands, the postponement of their rest might have been their undoing.

Damien Hardwick mentioned to The Herald Sun last night that he felt that the Tigers were "spluttering" at the minute, with their injury list starting to expose the side's weaknesses.

“We’re in the hunt. We’re like a lot of sides, spluttering along at the moment,” Hardwick explained.

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“We get some players back, then we lose some players. There are sides, I wouldn’t say having a charmed run, but are coping well with their injuries.

“Then there are sides like us that are battling along the way and waiting until we get our side back together and start to gel."

It is no secret that the Tigers do have some big outs at the minute.

Tom Lynch, Dion Prestia, David Astbury, Toby Nankervis and Ivan Soldo are all sidelined with various ailments, and are all established players within the Richmond system.

As Hardwick said, all sides have injuries, but being able to cope with them is a different kettle of fish.

The holes left in the team, coupled with players having to put in extra minutes before they can get a week off, could have cost the Tigers a prized top four spot.

Being 22-points up in the final term and looking to have the game wrapped up, only to proceed to throw it away would have had Tigers fans ripping their hair out back home in Melbourne.

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It was in all facets a proverbial eight-point encounter, with the Tigers now sitting in eighth, a win out of the top four with the worst percentage inside the finals-paying positions.

West Coast now move to seventh with 32 points and are equal with the three teams above them.

The main thing for these two teams is that all the clubs from fifth to second have a game-in-hand and, should they win those, will see the Tigers lose touch with the top four even more.

Yes we know that history tells us that Richmond come alive after the bye, and they do play Brisbane and Geelong in their run home, two fellow premiership contenders.

Nevertheless, this could be the toughest hurdle the Tigers will have to overcome yet.

At this point last season, if we're to draw comparisons between the two differently-sized years, Round 10 would roughly be the point of reference. Richmond were sitting in fourth place and looking dangerous as they went on to win six of their last seven.

This year, they're sitting eighth, a win coupled with a game-in-hand outside the four, and will have to replicate that form one would think to get a qualifying final in September.

However, if they fail and find themselves without the double chance, fans might look back on the fixture change and subsequent loss to Adam Simpson's side as the reason why they find themselves with their backs to the wall.

Nevertheless, if we know anything about Richmond it is that they love nothing more than having their backs to the wall and having to scrap it out for victory.

It will be most intriguing to see where Damien Hardwick's side finishes this year, and if they will live to rue their postponed hiatus.