MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Trent Cotchin of the Tigers walks to the coin toss during the 2018 AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Collingwood Magpies at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 21, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin and wife Brooke were reportedly close to leaving the club’s Queensland hub following the latter’s COVID-19 breach last month, per Fox Sports.

According to Jane Gale, wife of Richmond CEO Brendan, the couple had threatened to leave the AFL hub in a move back to Victoria.

“Richmond chief executive Brendan Gale, his wife Jane has finally confirmed the open secret in AFL circles that the Cotchin’s tried to escape their Gold Coast hub after the COVID breach of Brooke,” Herald Sun AFL reporter Jon Ralph explained on Fox Footy.

“Now if that sentence seems extraordinary, that’s the COVID situation we are in right now.

“The Tigers thought they had calmed the farm over the Cotchin situation after everyone knew they tried to alleviate that and abandon the hub, had even complained to Gillon McLachlan.

“Then Brooke’s father Rick spoke out about being muzzled and Brendon not doing enough and then Brooke spoke out in the Herald Sun about internet trolls.

“The final chapter today when Jane Gale confirmed the Cotchin’s in the Herald Sun in her words ‘had threatened to leave the hub at one point’.

“If that was a tabloid spat happening at Collingwood, you would say it is derailing the season. (But) Richmond are absolutely flying.”

The Tigers were fined $45,000 ($25,000 suspended) after Brooke posted to social media from a day spa, breaching the AFL’s COVID-19 guidelines.

AFL greats and Fox Footy analysts Dermott Brereton and Nick Riewoldt said the story would have become tolling on the Cotchin’s and the club, with the whole incident farcical.

“I think it has got the capacity to create some a real embarrassment within the group. Clearly it isn’t having an effect on the fortunes of the team (at the moment),” Brereton said.

“You just wonder if the pressure does come,” Riewoldt added on Fox Footy.

“At the moment they are playing good footy. We all know it is hard to move on from those things when you’re winning but as soon as the pressure does come (it could change).

“You look for reasons. At the start of the year with West Coast we were looking. Are they not enjoying the hubs?

“This is embarrassing now. For the captain of the football club, his standing in the game couldn’t have been higher in the last three years.

“To be put out publicly that you and your family, you’ve threatened allegedly to leave the hub, they are not nice things to happen.

This will be one of the first things people turn to (if it gets ugly).”