They are back in familiar territory and perhaps ready to make serious noise in September.

Last season was one of disappointment for Richmond, missing out on finals for the first time since 2016, with much was made of former skipper Trent Cotchin last year and whether he should play on past 2022. 

Even questions around whether the Tigers' dynasty was over arose. The side that had won three premierships in the last four seasons.

It was looking as though Richmond would be heading for another September holiday after losing a tight encounter to bottom-placed North Melbourne, then a draw the following round to Fremantle - a game in which the Tigers should have secured the four points.

With four rounds remaining, Richmond were only two points off the top eight, with a tricky two weeks ahead, needing to overcome Brisbane and Port Adelaide.

Well, Richmond's hopes of featuring in the finals were delicately hanging by a thread as Brisbane blitzed and stormed their way to a commanding 42-point lead midway through the second quarter. All but seemed lost. At least only in that moment. What was to occur was the vintage yellow and black of their dynasty from only a couple of years ago would emerge to come roaring back to life and in the process save their season.

That game-changing second half of football would be the catalyst for this proud club, sending a warning shot to the competition they are not a spent force. Then a pivotal away win in the City of Churches in front of a hostile Power crowd would nearly guarantee them a finals spot for the fifth time in six seasons.

Richmond would easily account for Hawthorn and Essendon by 61 points and 66 points respectively in the final two rounds. Now the Tigers are back, back in their traditional stomping grounds, the finals.

Tom Lynch during the round 22 AFL match between Richmond and Hawthorn on August 14, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Richmond Media)

But what has been the major turnaround in their fortunes? Firstly, the last four matches of the home and away season have pointed to all the right indicators in terms of scoring.

In the last month, Richmond have been averaging 120.5 points per contest - cracking triple figures in six of their first 19 games, including a season-high 165 points in the round seven pasting of West Coast. It wasn't as though the Tigers were having difficulties scoring, rather the fact opponents were getting hold of them.

But these last four games have shown Richmond have regained their hunger, desire, appetite, and will for the contest, and with it making opposition teams pay. Their ability to force turnovers is where Richmond scores heavily. Shades of 2017 appearing all over again.

The Tigers have been touted to make a deep run in these finals, with their momentum thanks to several players who have stepped up to the mantle. Dion Prestia has to be first that comes to mind. The tough nuggety midfielder after an injury-ravaged 2021, which he only played nine games, has put together an excellent season despite missing four matches.

He is averaging 25.6 disposals and 5.9 clearances and has become the side's number one midfielder since superstar Dustin Martin went down with a hamstring injury against the Eagles. 

Prestia's ability to get the ball out of tight confines and then hurt the opposition with his disposal has been crucial for the team. Add in Cotchin, who has been able to bounce back this year, along with the injection of Jayden Short (from defence) and youngster Tyler Sonsie into the middle, allowing the team to have a vast variety of midfield options without having to worry about Martin.

The three-time Norm Smith medallist's return is only icing on the Tiger cake.

Then the backline, and the formidable job the back six has done. Robbie Tarrant has proven to be a handy acquisition getting the opposition's best forward every week, whilst the intercept marking of Nick Vlaustin and Noah Balta is all-important to the team's forays out of its defensive 50. Liam Baker has been tremendous, as too Nathan Broad, but it's the revolution of Daniel Rioli that has been the bonus tick.

Daniel Rioli during the round 22 AFL match between Richmond and Hawthorn on August 14, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Richmond Media)

After struggling to cement himself as a pressure forward in 2021, Rioli embraced a completely different role, this time playing as a half-back flanker. And he has made every post a winner. Rioli is averaging 20.6 disposals, including a career-high 31 disposals in a losing cause against Gold Coast. His pinpoint passing and dash down back has been a weapon Richmond constantly looked to utilise.

With the backline and midfield synergising nicely, the forward line poses a major threat, in particular to its opponents, Brisbane.

Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt have been an excellent duo since Lynch's first year at Punt Road in 2019. Their ability to create separation and win one-on-one marking contests has been their staple. Lynch has put together another excellent campaign, currently with 60 goals from 18 matches.

He's likely to cause his most likely opponent Harris Andrews major problems, having kicked four in the season-defining win between the two teams a month ago. Only adding further concern for Brisbane is the fact Lynch has booted 21 goals in his last four games, a vein of form no defender is hoping to come up against. 

But the major inclusion that has added further spark to Richmond's already potent forward line has been the addition of Noah Cumberland.

Since returning to the side in Round 17, the 21-year-old has been incredible with his long-range kicking from 50. He has given the Tigers a different dimension in their attack, kicking 18 goals in eight matches, including a five-goal haul in the Brisbane victory.

Dion Prestia and Noah Cumberland during the round 22 AFL match between Richmond and Hawthorn on August 14, 2022 (Photo by Cameron Grimes / Richmond Media)

His presence and goal sense will play a major part in taking the pressure off Lynch and Riewoldt. Perhaps Brandon Starcevich will have the job of curtailing him, if he's not tasked with distinguishing Dustin Mart. 

Add in the ground presence of the mercurial Shai Bolton and Maurice Rioli Jr, and the ingredients are set to cause a rumble in the Lions' den.

The pieces are clicking at the right time for Richmond to have a serious crack and giving the finals a major shakeup. One in which its first up opponent Brisbane will be fearing after what happened only a month ago.

We'll find out come the opening bounce next Thursday night at The Gabba.