In round five, the reigning premiers will play the team that won the flag in 2018 in neutral territory, a month into the other team’s sulking sojourn to Queensland and in front of tumbleweeds.
The Eagles have been moping since being ordered to Queensland, so unless they throw off their funk with the help of the excitement of an imminent return home, the Tigers will face a West Coast side still deep in exile ennui.
Weeks later, the Magpies and Cats, two other teams with legitimate ambitions for this year’s flag, will get the Eagles in front of a packed partisan and football-starved Optus Stadium crowd and an Eagles team back in their comfort zone.
Richmond had no hand in this. It was the fixture that was dealt them. But they will not be unhappy with that fixture: neutral ground, no crowd and a team that doesn’t want to be there.