Damien Hardwick hopes the parallels between Richmond's drought-breaking AFL premiership and the Hawthorn flag of 2008 have ended.

But he is brutally realistic about what lies ahead. Hardwick coached the Tigers to their 11th premiership on Saturday at the MCG. They ended a 37-year drought with the upset 16.12 (108) to 8.12 (60) win over Adelaide.

He said there were eerie similarities to the Hawks of 2008, when he was an assistant coach under Alastair Clarkson.

Just like the Hawks nine years ago, Richmond had a late-season loss and then stormed through the finals.

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The two teams timed their runs to perfection. But Hawthorn dropped out of the top eight in 2009 and as much as Hardwick would want to avoid repeating that slump, it is also what happened to the Western Bulldogs this year after their historic premiership.

Asked what success might lie ahead for the Tigers, Hardwick replied: "It's hard to say - we mightn't get back next year. That's as even as the competition and as hard, as brutal a reality as it is.

"Many people will liken us to the Bulldogs and we saw the trials and tribulations that they had this year.

"The competition is brutal. They [other teams] will prepare a lot harder for us now, they'll probably go to school a lot more on us, obviously. So we'll just take this one for what it is and reset for next year."

Indeed, while Richmond overwhelmed Adelaide on Saturday, the Crows were minor premiers and had premiership favouritism for much of the season.

Only 12 months ago, the Tigers were in crisis on and off the field after dropping out of the top eight. There was an unsuccessful board challenge and plenty of pressure on Hardwick.

But Richmond held their nerve and recruited well, while Hardwick acknowledged his failings and made changes to how he coached.

They built their premiership on relentless pressure, plus they developed an unusual attack where Jack Riewoldt was the only tall marking option.

Just as Hawthorn and the Western Bulldogs are the last two teams to drop out of the top eight the year after winning the flag, nine years apart, Richmond's premiership also breaks a trend.

The Tigers are the first team since Geelong in 2007 to win the premiership the year after finishing outside the top eight.