Slow and stilted run, schoolboy errors and the absence of three of its most critical players were behind not only Richmond's belting by Hawthorn on Sunday but its slide from a team that challenged the top four last year, Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said.
The Richmond side that emphatically defeat.
"You take three of our best six players out we are going to struggle," Hardwick said.
"With [Brett] Deledio, [Alex] Rance and [Ivan] Maric you get those guys back in they make us better but the fact is I think they have played two games between them all year. It's going to be some time."
He added that Deledio and Rance returning next week would not immediately be the difference as they have not played for five weeks.
"We are not playing anywhere near as fluently as we did last year. We know that, we are trying to rectify that, we have got to continue to work. The players, the coaches, the lot of us, we know that," Hardwick said.
Hawthorn's dominant display was soured only by the report of important defender Josh Gibson for a challenge on Richmond's Reece Conca in a marking contest.
Gibson was reported for charging by the controlling umpire after Conca stayed down at length and Richmond players vigorously remonstrated with the Hawks.
After finishing fifth on the ladder last year Richmond has now won just two games – over Carlton and Brisbane – and lost by 66 points to last year's premier before a crowd of 52,990. It now confronts Geelong at the MCG next week.
"Obviously you go from one really good team to another in Geelong, we just have to get our game up and going," Hardwick said.
"At various stages you would have seen we used the ball really well and at other stages we made poor blues and it's been characteristic of our season thus far: we get ourselves into the game and we just manage to shoot ourselves in the foot by not taking the ball over the line or making a schoolboy error. We have to continue to work through that, simplify it and get our guys playing some good footy because we are well short of where we need to be."
Maric will not return until after the bye while Deledio and Rance will be available for the game against Geelong next week.
Hardwick said he would "address the situation of the three key forwards" after considering Ty Vickery for selection again after he was "better" in the VFL. Recruit Ben Lennon will come into contention.
"After tonight's result (he is in contention). He will be thereabouts this week," Hardwick said.
He said getting players back would help but the team had to improve its ball use.
"You throw Rance and Deledio down back it improves you straight away. At the moment we hold on to the ball longer than we would like, we don't move it as well as we would like.
"We have got some players that are really improving but unfortunately we are not clicking as a side at the moment as we have spoken about over the last three or four weeks."
Clarkson said after losing to Richmond the last two times the sides have played – by 41 points last year andgoals the year before – his side was focused on silencing Richmond early.
"We were pleased on a couple of fronts one that we were able to arrest the Richmond winning run against us – they have caused us trouble the last couple of times we have played and pleased we could keep them to a pretty low score," Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said.
Richmond didn't lack endeavour they lacked the talent and class of Hawthorn. The
absence of Deledio was keenly felt but did not account for the size of the difference.
Cyril Rioli booted four goals in a quarter, and worked hard all day as he responded to the criticism that he lacks full game presence on a weekly basis.
Clarkson said Jarryd Roughead was quieter than normal but in a team that had 11 different goalkickers including one from Roughead that was less consequential than if he were quiet in a loss.