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Richo urges struggling Tigers to make hard calls

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Tigers hit a new low in 2014

Richmond have come to a "very significant fork in the road in terms of the bigger picture", according to senior AFL writer Rohan Connolly.

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Tiger legend Matthew Richardson says Richmond should consider giving up on certain players and instead give opportunities to the inexperienced, even if they are not fully prepared for senior football, as current captain Trent Cotchin predicted a savage internal critique of its loss to Melbourne on Saturday.

Cotchin conceded that only two wins in  its first eight matches was disappointing for a team aspiring to play finals. He expected the Tigers inability to compete with the Demons in one-on-one contest would be a key theme of their weekly review.

"This week will be probably be one of our most stern reviews," Cotchin told AFL Game Day.

Matthew Richardson.

Matthew Richardson. Photo: Supplied

"[Hard questions] need to be put on a few blokes and challenge them [to make amends], because when it's happened in the past guys have stood up. That's what needs to happen now."

Former greats Matthew Lloyd and Wayne Carey both wrote off Richmond's finals chances following it loss to the Demons. Lloyd argued only one player, defender David Astbury, had improved since last season, and he  may not play again this season due to injury.

Richardson reckoned the Tigers' loss to the Demons was a watershed match for many supporters who had retained faith in their club.

"They [players] have to have a real soul-searching week and turn it around pretty quickly, because the fans came into this year with hope and a lot of people were positive right up until this week, but I had a lot of messages from Richmond fans last night and they've just about had enough at the moment," he told 3AW.

Richardson said the Tigers had been flattered by winning 15 matches last season, and reckoned the poor start to 2014 could herald a significant change in the selection strategy led by coach Damien Hardwick.

"I think under Hardwick there's been an incremental improvement in his first four years. I think he probably got the best out of a number of players that played right up to their potential, but this year I think some of those players have dropped off and they're not going to get any more improvement out of them," he said.

"They've got to now make a decision which way they go in the second half of this year, whether they play a few new players and go past a couple, because they're just not looking like it at the moment."

Cotchin's belief that the Tigers were beaten in one-on-one contests by  the Demons was echoed by pundits such as Wayne Schwass and Tony Shaw, albeit with most differing from Cotchin by declaring it was a systemic weakness among the players rather than just being limited to Saturday's match.

Richardson said he thought that trait was exposed in the Tigers' shock loss to Carlton in week one of last year's finals, when in the first half they thrived when they had ample time and space to distribute "but after half-time when it was a one-on-one game they capitulated".

"I don't think players are shirking the issue - they're not not putting their heads over the ball - but they don't cope with one-on-one pressure. When it's a one-on-one game you have to work harder and push harder and get out in the open," Richardson said.

"Last year they got the game on their terms, they had a number of people behind the footy and they were able to hold onto it and work their way down the ground, but as soon as it's a one-on-one effort, across the whole ground . . . they're not coping with it. I simply don't think they're working hard enough."

Lloyd criticised Richmond's recruiting strategy for being too focused on "plugging holes", rather than a longer-term goal of compiling an elite team.

"They're slow through the midfield and also they've got a poor skill level, so they're in a real hole at the moment," Lloyd told The Sunday Footy Show.

Carey reckoned the players were more to blame for Richmond's slide this season than  Hardwick.

"They're a classic case of getting ahead of themselves. After last year, [there was a belief] they were just going to roll up this year and it would happen," he told Triple M.

Carey reckoned spearhead Jack Riewoldt appeared "lost", and had to make a significant change to his approach if he was to regain his Coleman Medal-winning form.

"He hasn't got the tank to move around the ground like other key forwards . . . and he hasn't got the turn of speed now to lose his opponent. He really does have to find a way to evolve with this game, because right now he does look lost," Carey said. "He's either got to do some real power-off-the-mark-type stuff so he can get a break between him and his opponent, or put on a little bit of size and get that strength back."

15 comments

  • What a disappointing game! Not just the loss to a very average team but the nature of the loss. There was not one inspiring passage of play all day. Richmond's goals were by good luck rather than planning. It was a horribly unsatisfying spectacle. The error rate was back to the high level that so many Tiger tragics have become used to - dropped marks, shocking kicking, fumbles, trying to do too much. And when Richmond had the ball - who to give it to - no options! No strategy whatsoever going forward - we have a Coleman medallist not being given a chance to do what he can do. The game should have ended the careers of a couple of players, Houli and Vickery, they were woeful. And I can't remember a backman smashed as badly as Chaplin, who worryingly finished third in last years B & F - it was stuff up after stuff up. Probably better Richmond didn't fall over the line by a couple of points though as there may not have been the soul searching so desperately needed, Hard to believe Derrickx and Matty White may play against each other in a grand final this year along with Jay Schultz. Mitch Morton got a flag too. Meanwhile the Tiges are bottom 4 again. How does this happen over and over - for 30 years??!!

    Commenter
    Andrew
    Location
    South Yarra
    Date and time
    May 19, 2014, 11:31AM
    • And as for the style of game generally, they may be great athletes today but the game style is not great to watch. All players in one half of the ground, positions don't exist, 20 players on the ball, stacks on the mill and loads of stoppages, few contested marks, chipping it around. It's a tough watch. For all the beatup in the media as to what a great game we have, I'm not convinced, I'm not a believer any more.

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Location
      South Yarra
      Date and time
      May 19, 2014, 11:32AM
      • Yep - blame Wallace and Roos. Any team that Roos coaches turns the game into a lolly scramble.

        Take at least two players off the ground and limit the interchange if you want the game to return to the open contest it once was. Otherwise, look forward to 18 teams that play like its little league.

        p.s. watch the VFL its much, much better

        Commenter
        wear the fox hat
        Date and time
        May 19, 2014, 12:26PM
    • An absolute shame - what has happened to the modern day tigers ?

      Time and again over the last 32 years I have watch other teams come and go - rise up the ladder, slide back down, rebuild and back up they go !

      Not with the Tigers tho.....they have done nothing but consistently dis-appointed their supporters and each new dawn turns out to be another immense failure.

      Hang your heads in shame Tigers.....somebody needs to kick your backsides with immense gusto...clean out the bludgers and guess what - rebuild again ?

      Sigh.................

      Commenter
      Terrific Tommy
      Location
      Pathetic Tigers
      Date and time
      May 19, 2014, 11:44AM
      • Richmond need to do a Carlton - although they're position is way worse than the Blues. They need to admit their list is rubbish. Vickery no good, Reiwoldt is one dimensional and selfish, Grigg no good, Hampson no good, Martin overrated, Deledio is ok, Maric ok at best, Houli no good, Newman average and past it, Jackson average, King no good, Conca no good, Foley no good...the list goes on and on. How anyone picked them for top 4 with a list like that is embarrassing.

        Commenter
        razor
        Date and time
        May 19, 2014, 11:49AM
        • 'Deledio is ok' - mate he would be a shoe in anywhere; he's been a trojan for years. The rest, yeah have to basically agree although I reckon Reiwoldt would be a lot better at another team.

          Commenter
          wear the fox hat
          Date and time
          May 19, 2014, 12:24PM
        • I just love it when over-rated Melbourne-based clubs implode and start to eat their own. Particularly Richmond, Carlton and Essendon, 3 teams that long ago used to be VFL powerhouses and still retain ridiculous delusions of grandeur. They may even have had some success in the early AFL, but are now just perennial mid to lower table strugglers.

          Just face it. You don't have the club culture or mindset to be successful in the modern AFL. Only your misguided fans think that you are still a big deal, the rest of the AFL football world just sees these 3 clubs as failures. These clubs need to look very closely at Collingwood, Hawthorn, and Geelong - to gain an understanding of what is now needed to be successful on and off the field.

          Commenter
          Sylvia
          Location
          Mitcham
          Date and time
          May 19, 2014, 1:01PM
        • I pretty much agree with your current assessments but a lot of them are better than they are showing. London to a brick, Richmond trades them and they become superstars elsewhere. Cotchin, Deledio, Martin should be dominating other teams, Jackson and King are good for the club, Conca has great promise and Grigg can be handy. Riewoldt would be better at another club, I agree, but that is not acceptable - he has, and should again, be leading the goalkicking but the strategy going forward is a dog's breakfast. Richmond has to get the best out of them but the opposite is happening. A fit Maric will help. Some better systems might actually lead to us taking a mark inside 50. Other than Jack the forward line is very poor though so some wholesale changes are needed too

          Commenter
          Andrew
          Location
          South Yarra
          Date and time
          May 19, 2014, 1:35PM
        • wear the fox hat...I may have been a little harsh on Deledio. He is far better than just ok. The rest are simply not good enough and Jack should go elsewhere.

          Commenter
          razor
          Date and time
          May 19, 2014, 2:04PM
      • Unless there are truly, madly, deeply psycho-ceramic reasons, start with anyone with rampant tatts, i.e., beyond 1% of skin area, which Arnold E Bender & David A Bender's "Body Surface Area. A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition" (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) estimates as c. 18,000 square cm for the 'average' bloke.

        Which allows 180 sq cm, about the size of a Xmas card envelope.

        Commenter
        40 Degrees S
        Date and time
        May 19, 2014, 11:49AM

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