DEFEATED Geelong coach Chris Scott has paid tribute to back-to-back premier Richmond, declaring "if there’s a dignified way to go down then it’s to go down against the best".
The Tigers were too good for the Cats at the Gabba, overcoming a 22-point deficit in the second quarter to kick away for their third premiership in four seasons.
Saturday's defeat was the Cats' sixth loss in their past seven clashes against the Tigers since the 2017 qualifying final.
It was the second consecutive year their season has ended with defeat to the Tigers, following last year's preliminary final at the MCG.
“I’d like to start in the right spot, which is acknowledging Richmond," Scott said as he started his post-match press conference on Saturday night.
"They were just too good and have been such a good team over a long period of time, it’s a credit to them."
Scott said he was proud of his players and staff, who approached a season like no other "as well as one could possibly imagine".
“I’m really proud of my players. They keep fronting up, and even though we fell short tonight I’m really proud of them and I hope our supporters are too," he said.
Scott said he could not imagine being more disappointed after his first Grand Final defeat, having coached the Cats to their 2011 flag in his first season at the helm.
"It’s going to take a long time to get over," he said.
“I thought the game was there but when it really counted they were just too good for us."
Retiring great Gary Ablett had likely played out his final match with a crack in his injured left shoulder, Scott said, after landing heavily in a tackle from Richmond captain Trent Cotchin.
Ablett returned to the ground later in the first quarter and played out the match before leaving the game through a guard of honour.
Describing Richmond champion Dustin Martin, Scott said: "In some situations he’s just peerless in the way he plays. He’s so strong, such a good kick and took his chances".