Eight wins in a row, but Richmond President Peggy O'Neal isn't counting any chickens. Photo: Pat Scala
Richmond president Peggy O'Neal has vowed the club "will not be blinded" by its stunning home run that has pushed the team into final eight contention.
Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's must-win clash against flag favourite Sydney, O'Neal has promised an indepth review of the Tigers' football operation, declaring: "We must get better."
Nearing the end of her first season as president, O'Neal said Richmond's board and executive would be asking if the club needed to be "tougher on ourselves than we have ever been" following the Tigers' form reversal since its loss to Sydney in round 14.
"We're all feeling that we've got a lot more work to do," she said. "We've all learnt a lot and one of those is you can't take your eye off the ball."
Having urged the club in June to "stay the course" and "hold our nerve", O'Neal at the time strongly backed the club's leaders, coach Damien Hardwick, chief executive Brendon Gale, general manager of football Daniel Richardson and captain Trent Cotchin, demanding unity and refusing to "look for scapegoats".
She emphasised the club's need for improvement in her final pre-game address before Sunday's game against StKilda at the MCG.
"There will be no knee-jerk decisions based on the first half of the season," she said.
"Equally, we will not be blinded by what has unfolded in the back half.
"We will consider what needs to happen to build a better business, a better football department and ultimately a better football side. We must get better.
"We must become a club that achieves and sustains excellence ... so at the end of this season we will sit down and make informed and prudent decisions that are focused solely on improvement."
O'Neal said on Monday that her final home-game address would have been the same whether the club had won five, six, seven or eight games on end.
She added the fact the club had collectively held its nerve and won eight games in succession was a "great credit to all".
O'Neal said that while the club should not be celebrating its season as a whole without some serious scrutiny, she remained proud that Richmond had avoided the off-season drama of previous decades, something she said the Tigers could not afford to endure again.
Richmond's on-field turnaround, which has led to the longest current winning streak in the competition, will also lead to a better-than-forecast financial result from the club, which had suffered a dramatic downturn in attendances and eight weeks ago was facing the prospect of no Friday night fixtures next season.
Now, Gale has reinforced his push for 11 home games at the MCG next season, along with a renewed bid to host a Friday night game on the eve of Anzac Day.
■ O'Neal and Gale will join the 17 other AFL club chiefs at a special function in Canberra on Tuesday night, where AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan will host government and opposition leaders in a bid to build better relationships with federal government ministers.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will both address the club bosses.