AFL Rd 8 - GWS v Richmond
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Jack Riewoldt of the Tigers looks on during the round 8 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Richmond Tigers at GIANTS Stadium on July 24, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Richmond star forward Jack Riewoldt has given insight into the “sombre” mood within Tiger town and how they’re on “heightened alert” to avoid any more off-field hiccups.

The comments came after teammates Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones’ 3am brawl outside a Gold Coast strip club, with the pair copping 10-game suspensions and a $100,000 fine for the club.

Riewoldt spoke on his SEN program talking about how it has been “pretty difficult” for the players and how there has been a “sombre mood around the hub”.

“We’ve had we’ve had two young men make a lot of very poor decisions and the easy thing to do is to ostracise them from the group and say ‘that was their choice’. But the sign of a good football club and the sign of a good organisation is that we own it,” Riewoldt told SEN.

Riewoldt continued to say that the “decent whack” from commentators and fans has been deserved but has also cut them the deepest.

“We feel like we’re a great organisation and we’ve had a couple of young men that have made the decision to pull against the fabric of our organisation – and it really hurts,” he said.

This misdemeanour was the second breach of the AFL’s COVID-19 agreement and should the club breach them a third time, they risk losing premiership points and draft selections.

The double premiership forward said the playing group understood the consequences of their actions but said that “you can’t take it as a failure of two people”.

“This is a team sport and we’re not going to ostracise the boys and throw them out. We’re going to own it – and I think the club’s done that really well,” he said.

“They’ve gone against the grain of what we’re about. The majority of our actions – and I mean, 99.999 per cent – are of solid, good-cultured football club and a club that is built on respect and built on connection, built on love and built on care for each other. But these two young men, they made two really poor decisions.

“That’s not going to define us in the back-end of the season … We’ve got to learn our lesson from it because we’re in a position where we’re right on the borderline of going over into the next stage of punishments, which are pretty severe.

“So we’re on heightened alert as well. We know that we need to maintain the regulations, as every side does up here.”

Riewoldt said that the club’s brand had taken a hit and suggests that it is likely the ongoing “arrogance” of the club.

“We’ve got some extremely humble people in here and they would cringe hearing that and I would cringe about them saying that about our people,” he said.

“The brand has really been affected – and it’s a brand that we do so much work on … We do some amazing things in the Alannah & Madeline Foundation space, Black Lives Mater I feel like we’ve been the industry leader, KGI and all these other programs that happen behind the scenes that players put a lot of energy in and staff at this football club put a lot of energy in – and that’s been really hurt by this.

“I have a firm and strong belief the leaders that we have around this club – and that’s players, Peggy, Brendan, Dimma, everyone that’s in a senior management position – is pushing in the right direction. We’ve had a couple of slip-ups and a couple of massive blues, but we are pushing in the right direction. We learn, we grow and we’ve been planted again. It will be the true showing of culture.

“There’s players here that are guttered, absolutely guttered about what’s happened because they’ve been dragged into something that is so against the grain of their own ethos and the club ethos.”

Upon asking if he had a message for Richmond fans, Riewoldt said: “I just empathise with them and say that we are in that position as well.