Richmond endured a horror season in 2016, finishing 13th on the ladder with just eight wins, despite three consecutive finals appearances from 2013 to 2015.
The season included several thumping defeats, including an embarrassing 113-point loss to Sydney at the SCG in Round 23.
It has culminated in a potential leadership takeover, with the ‘Focus On Footy’ group announcing their intentions to challenge the current Richmond Football Club board.
The frictions are not limited to board level however, with star players at the club falling out over the side’s game plan.
Zero Hanger understands that Jack Reiwoldt and Brett Deledio are prepared to leave Punt Road in this year’s trade period after becoming frustrated with the style of play.
However, the board is understood to be likely to back Riewoldt and Deledio, to ensure two of the backbones of the side remain at the club, which begs the question, will Hardwick remain in the top job next season?
Dr Martin Hiscock, who is leading Focus On Footy’s push for the Richmond board takeover, also said there is unrest among the playing group at Tigerland.
“We’ve heard there is real disunity… amongst some of the players and assistant coaches,” Hiscock said.
However, Hiscock was adamant that Hardwick would see out his contract if they are successful in their leadership challenge.
But he did also suggested the current game plan must change to become competitive with the best teams in the competition.
“The gameplan needs to change,” he said. “The buck stops at the top.”
The group’s first plan is to recruit Neil Balme as, what the group is calling, a CEO of football, to oversee the onfield renaissance.