JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Time to toughen up, Tiges

Former skipper Chris Newman.

Former skipper Chris Newman. Photo: Getty Images

The Tigers quickly need to toughen up. They want to mix it with the big boys, but when push comes to shove there's too many whinges, too many excuses. If you are a top-eight team, the spotlight shines brightly on you. Deficiencies are exposed. Richmond thinks it belongs there. Problem is, under fierce scrutiny, cracks are being exposed and it appears very sensitive to any criticism. And it starts at the top. Coach, captain, vice-captain and Coleman medallist. That's right, Damien Hardwick, Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio and Jack Riewoldt.

The Tigers were bullish over summer. They felt they were stiff not to make the finals for the first time in 12 years. Under Hardwick the wins had gone from six to eight to 10. With a new, mature captain and vice-captain, Hardwick told the Richmond faithful during pre-season to get ready for September.

The first three games were wins. Lots of positive publicity, big crowds, growing membership. But the wins were not against top-eight teams from 2012. The true test would come against Collingwood, Fremantle and Geelong. An undermanned Collingwood ran over the Tigers. Pie midfielders Scott Pendlebury and Dane Swan had very good games.

On the Monday night after that game, young captain Cotchin, who had won his club's best and fairest and been named All-Australian in 2012, appeared on Fox Footy's On the Couch. Vision was shown of Swan breaking into space unopposed. The vision was to highlight Swan's positioning and hard-running capabilities. It was no big deal. But I believe Cotchin thought it was someone having a crack at his lack of accountability. It wasn't. The captain has received a mountain of accolades over the past 12 months. I just hope that he can cope with criticism.

The next week, the Tigers travelled to Perth. Deledio received a heavy tag from Ryan Crowley, the Dockers' best stopper. It severely restricted his output. And Luke McPharlin got into the head of, and put the brakes on, Riewoldt. Riewoldt stopped running to create and didn't defend as he should have. With two minutes to go, the game was in the balance. Tiger substitute Matt White shoots for goal from the tightest of angles. It hits the goal umpire's leg and is rushed through for a behind. Would it have been a goal? Probably. But it doesn't matter because seconds later, White goals from another boundary-line shot. The Tigers hit the front. Five points up with 90 seconds to play. It's simply time to stack the back line for the centre bounce. Tiger legend Matthew Richardson calls the play from the boundary. He says the Tigers have practised this situation over summer. But do they do it? No. There's too many high-fives and hugs still going on over White's miracle goal. There's no leadership on the ground, and has Hardwick got the runner out to set up the back line attack? Regardless, it doesn't happen. Fremantle forces the ball forward and goals. Richmond loses another close one.

The coach is furious. He tees off on the goal umpire and the goal review system. The anger is misguided. It should be at his players and himself for failing to implement the correct structure at the final centre bounce.

After the narrow loss to Fremantle, both Deledio and Riewoldt were criticised in the media for their ordinary performances. The coach felt a need to defend his players. But Damien, don't mollycoddle them. They are big boys and there's nothing wrong with admitting that you got beaten on the day. Leading the charge against Riewoldt was former Carlton captain and centre half-forward Mark Maclure. Among other things, Maclure used the words "prima donna" to describe Riewoldt. Jack, the lad, didn't like it. Jack says the day he starts listening to the media is the day to give the game away. Not sure about that, Jack. Maclure has three things that you don't. Premiership medals. He also knows what sacrifice and putting the team first is all about. If you shared a coffee you should learn plenty.

So week three of the big challenge comes for the Tigers. They capitulate against the Cats. Geelong fields nine players with less than 50 games. The Tigers have only four. Deledio is tagged again, this time by Taylor Hunt. Again, his numbers are well down. Frustration builds. Cotchin and former skipper Chris Newman give away costly, undisciplined free kicks. It's a bad look. After the game, retired Tiger Nathan Brown, on radio, gives three votes for worst on ground to Deledio. He is not, of course; it was tongue-in-cheek. But the vice-captain can't handle the criticism.

The next morning he drags his bottom lip into Channel Nine. Matthew Lloyd is on the panel, so too is Brown. Lloyd says he has never seen a player as flat as Deledio is on Sunday morning. Some criticism by an ex-teammate has cut him to the quick. It doesn't do Deledio's image any good. On Saturday, in Adelaide, I expect Port's Kane Cornes will remind him of it. So, come on Tiges. Stop sooking. Harden up. Put the egos aside on game day and learn how to take the good with the bad.


  • You make some good points Wallsy. I'm not sure that Dimma is whinging behind closed doors with the players though.

    Lids went to Mundy and shut him down against Freo whilst getting 20 possessions.

    Jacks opponents know he is not fast enough to run away from them. They initiate contact and cuddle him, he can't run away. Must be very frustrating.

    Maybe Richmond aren't quite experienced enough yet and need Foley, Conca and Tuck in the team to support Cotch. Maybe Cotch is carrying a knee. Maybe zero free kicks between late in the first and middle of the third while Geelong gets 13 makes it hard against a great team.

    Might sound like whinging but I'm a supporter so I'm allowed.

    Punt Road End
    Date and time
    May 09, 2013, 5:45PM
    • Way too many 'MAYBES' in there DMAC... Seems you have contracted the same 'excuses disease' that Wallsy is speaking about...Selwood & Johnson 'sucked' your 2 boys Cotchin & Newman in way too easily at a crucial time in that game. From that point onwards your team lost the plot and the game!

      Date and time
      May 10, 2013, 10:01AM
    • Agree with procastinator. The one big thing we lack is experience in the hard games against quality opposition. Selwood and Johnson (and a few other Geelong players) 'psyched' Richmond players out verbally and physically, resulting in crucial free kicks against us. Too many of our big notes went missing when things got tough early in the 3rd quarter. Nobody could touch us when we were 4 goals up in the first half, but against a quality side like Geelong, 4 goals is 5 minutes of dedicated, tough football.

      bertie num nums
      Date and time
      May 10, 2013, 1:25PM
    • Very true Wallsy - straight to the point. Time for tigers to stand up and be counted.

      Date and time
      May 10, 2013, 1:45PM
    • I'm not sure what you want Newman to do when Selwood came at him? Just let him stand over him? It was an umpiring error that a 50m was paid against Newman. Another umpire signalled for it to be reversed because Selwood was the instigator. The officiating umpire missed and he was the one sucked in.
      We can all write critical articles about clubs if we twist facts to suit our agenda. Go back and listen to Dimma's press conference after the Freo loss. He was asked the question about the umpiring mistake, he didn't raise the issue. If the ball missed the point post and Freo lost by 4 points would they be under scrutiny for losing a close game? They led by 14 points in the last and nearly lost it.

      Punt Road End
      Date and time
      May 10, 2013, 3:29PM
  • Robert, you knock the Tigers at every opportunity. Is it because they once sacked you? You and Mark Maclure both were good players but are very average commentators and never provide any deep analysis, but only trot out emotive comments. Give it away Robert.

    Date and time
    May 09, 2013, 5:47PM
    • So did you come here and read this just to satisfy yourself that Robert has written another dud article?

      Always been a fan of Walls' "school of hard knocks" analysis and commentary.

      Date and time
      May 09, 2013, 6:42PM
    • He is spot on. Its time the Tigers and their fans faced reality again. They haven't improved anywhere near as much as they think, they are back slapping, high fiving whingers who again won't make the 8. One day they will take notice of the critics and that is when they will improve.

      Date and time
      May 10, 2013, 8:05AM
    • i'm a tiger supporter & agree with everything that walls has written. That being said both Walls & maclure are hopeless commentators. Maclure in particular only breaks into voice when he wants to bag someone/something.

      Mike basil
      Date and time
      May 10, 2013, 8:59AM
  • Hate to but can't help Agee with a bit of this. Actions speak louder than words so this weekend good chance to get back to consistent hard footy.

    Date and time
    May 09, 2013, 6:05PM

    More comments

    Comments are now closed

    Related Coverage

    AFL 2015

    Round 1
    Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
    CAR 78 vs RIC 105 Report Stats
    Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
    MEL 115 vs GCF 89 Stats
    SYD 72 vs ESS 60 Stats
    BRI 74 vs COL 86 Stats
    WBU 97 vs WCE 87 Stats
    Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK 78 vs GWS 87 Stats
    ADE 140 vs NTH 63 Stats
    FRE 75 vs PTA 68 Stats
    Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW 123 vs GEE 61 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 2
    Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
    WCE 131 vs CAR 62 Stats
    Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
    RIC 66 vs WBU 85 Report Stats
    GWS 101 vs MEL 56 Stats
    COL 63 vs ADE 90 Report Stats
    GCF 76 vs STK 104 Stats
    PTA 44 vs SYD 92 Stats
    Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
    GEE 60 vs FRE 104 Stats
    ESS 78 vs HAW 76 Stats
    NTH 133 vs BRI 51 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 3
    Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    COL 140 vs STK 66 Stats
    Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
    CAR 84 vs ESS 105 Stats
    ADE 80 vs MEL 55 Stats
    SYD 111 vs GWS 90 Report Stats
    NTH 105 vs PTA 113 Stats
    BRI 58 vs RIC 137 Stats
    Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW 127 vs WBU 57 Stats
    GEE 105 vs GCF 96 Stats
    WCE 81 vs FRE 111 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 4
    Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
    RIC 51 vs MEL 83 Stats
    Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK 81 vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
    ESS 49 vs COL 69 Report Stats
    GWS 119 vs GCF 53 Stats
    PTA 99 vs HAW 91 Stats
    FRE 74 vs SYD 60 Stats
    Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
    BRI 65 vs WCE 118 Stats
    GEE 67 vs NTH 83 Stats
    WBU 125 vs ADE 68 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 5
    Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR 45 vs COL 120 Stats
    Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
    RIC 76 vs GEE 85 Stats
    SYD 73 vs WBU 77 Stats
    GCF 118 vs BRI 54 Stats
    NTH 70 vs HAW 130 Stats
    WCE 120 vs GWS 33 Stats
    Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
    MEL 50 vs FRE 118 Stats
    STK 80 vs ESS 82 Stats
    ADE 91 vs PTA 115 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 6
    Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
    COL 59 vs GEE 100 Stats
    Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
    NTH 109 vs RIC 74 Stats
    WBU 87 vs STK 94 Stats
    GWS 108 vs HAW 98 Stats
    GCF 78 vs ADE 119 Stats
    MEL 50 vs SYD 88 Stats
    FRE 80 vs ESS 52 Stats
    Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR 75 vs BRI 84 Report Stats
    PTA 68 vs WCE 78 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 7
    Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS 82 vs NTH 93 Stats
    Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
    ADE 119 vs STK 73 Stats
    HAW 155 vs MEL 50 Stats
    CAR 57 vs GWS 135 Stats
    SYD 120 vs GEE 77 Stats
    WCE 135 vs GCF 43 Stats
    Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
    WBU 88 vs FRE 101 Stats
    RIC 105 vs COL 100 Report Stats
    BRI 102 vs PTA 65 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 8
    Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
    GEE 140 vs CAR 63 Report Stats
    Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
    STK 78 vs WCE 131 Report Stats
    GWS 108 vs ADE 84 Report Stats
    GCF 63 vs COL 132 Report Stats
    HAW 69 vs SYD 73 Report Stats
    FRE 115 vs NTH 42 Report Stats
    Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS 136 vs BRI 78 Report Stats
    MEL 103 vs WBU 64 Report Stats
    PTA 43 vs RIC 76 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 9
    Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs CAR 19:50SCG
    Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs GCF 13:45AS
    MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
    WBU vs GWS 16:35ES
    RIC vs ESS 19:20MCG
    ADE vs FRE 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
    BRI vs STK 13:10G
    COL vs NTH 15:20MCG
    WCE vs GEE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 10
    Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
    FRE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
    Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs ADE 13:40MCG
    GCF vs SYD 16:35MS
    ESS vs GEE 19:20ES
    PTA vs WBU 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs BRI 13:10Spotless Stadium
    NTH vs WCE 15:20BA
    STK vs HAW 16:40ES
    Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
    View All Fixtures
    Round 11
    Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
    GCF vs FRE 13:40MS
    WCE vs ESS 16:35Domain Stadium
    NTH vs SYD 19:20ES
    Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
    COL vs GWS 13:10MCG
    STK vs MEL 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 12
    Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs WCE 19:50MCG
    Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs PTA 13:40MCG
    GWS vs NTH 16:35Spotless Stadium
    WBU vs BRI 19:20ES
    Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs MEL 15:20SS
    View All Fixtures
    Round 13
    Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
    FRE vs COL 20:10Domain Stadium
    Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs RIC 19:50SCG
    Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs ESS 13:40MCG
    BRI vs ADE 16:35G
    STK vs WBU 19:20ES
    Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs GCF 15:20ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 14
    Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs PTA 19:20SCG
    Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
    COL vs HAW 19:50MCG
    Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs GWS 13:40MCG
    GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
    WBU vs CAR 19:20ES
    MEL vs WCE 19:40TIO
    Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs STK 13:10ES
    ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
    FRE vs BRI 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 15
    Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs COL 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs CAR 19:50MCG
    Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs MEL 13:40MCG
    WBU vs GCF 16:35CAZ
    NTH vs GEE 19:20ES
    WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs STK 13:10Spotless Stadium
    HAW vs FRE 15:20AS
    BRI vs SYD 16:40G
    View All Fixtures
    Round 16
    Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs ESS 19:50ES
    Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs WBU 13:45SS
    GCF vs GWS 14:10MS
    COL vs WCE 16:35ES
    SYD vs HAW 19:20ANZ
    FRE vs CAR 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
    PTA vs ADE 15:20Adelaide Oval
    STK vs RIC 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 17
    Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR vs HAW 19:50ES
    Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs GEE 13:45SO
    ADE vs GCF 14:10Adelaide Oval
    RIC vs FRE 16:35MCG
    ESS vs PTA 19:20ES
    BRI vs NTH 19:20G
    Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
    WBU vs COL 13:10ES
    MEL vs STK 15:20MCG
    WCE vs SYD 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 18
    Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs RIC 19:50MCG
    Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs BRI 13:45SS
    COL vs MEL 14:10MCG
    SYD vs ADE 16:35SCG
    CAR vs NTH 19:20ES
    GCF vs WCE 19:20MS
    Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
    PTA vs STK 13:10Adelaide Oval
    ESS vs WBU 15:20ES
    FRE vs GWS 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 19
    Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
    Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
    COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
    WBU vs PTA 14:10ES
    BRI vs GCF 16:35G
    GEE vs SYD 19:20SS
    WCE vs HAW 19:40Domain Stadium
    Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
    MEL vs NTH 13:10MCG
    GWS vs ESS 15:20Spotless Stadium
    STK vs FRE 16:40ES
    View All Fixtures
    Round 20
    Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
    SYD vs COL 19:50SCG
    Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
    ESS vs ADE 13:45ES
    NTH vs STK 14:10BA
    PTA vs GWS 16:35Adelaide Oval
    GEE vs HAW 19:20MCG
    BRI vs CAR 19:20G
    Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
    RIC vs GCF 13:10MCG
    WBU vs MEL 15:20ES
    FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 21
    Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
    HAW vs PTA 19:50ES
    Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
    COL vs RIC 13:45MCG
    GWS vs SYD 14:10Spotless Stadium
    GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
    STK vs GEE 19:20ES
    ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
    Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
    NTH vs FRE 13:10ES
    CAR vs MEL 15:20MCG
    WCE vs WBU 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 22
    Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
    GEE vs COL 19:50MCG
    Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
    GWS vs CAR 13:45Spotless Stadium
    HAW vs BRI 14:10AS
    NTH vs WBU 16:35ES
    ESS vs RIC 19:20MCG
    GCF vs PTA 19:20MS
    Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
    ADE vs WCE 13:10Adelaide Oval
    STK vs SYD 15:20ES
    FRE vs MEL 16:40Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    Round 23
    Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
    COL vs ESS 00:00MCG
    RIC vs NTH 00:00ES
    HAW vs CAR 00:00MCG
    GEE vs ADE 00:00SS
    SYD vs GCF 00:00SCG
    MEL vs GWS 00:00ES
    BRI vs WBU 00:00G
    PTA vs FRE 00:30Adelaide Oval
    WCE vs STK 02:00Domain Stadium
    View All Fixtures
    AFL 2015
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D % Pts
    Fremantle 8 8 0 0 155.29 32
    West Coast Eagles 8 6 2 0 158.17 24
    Sydney Swans 8 6 2 0 127.36 24
    GWS Giants 8 6 2 0 118.87 24
    Collingwood 8 5 3 0 129.90 20
    Adelaide Crows 8 5 3 0 116.32 20
    Hawthorn 8 4 4 0 145.81 16
    Richmond 8 4 4 0 107.64 16
    View all
    Featured advertisers