After another embarrassing loss, this time at the hands of a Collingwood side that was deplorable last week, the knives are again out for Tigers’ coach Damien Hardwick.
Hardwick is a fairly divisive figure in AFL circles, with some praising his presence in the turnaround of Richmond from perennial laughing stock to reaching the finals three seasons in a row.
However, others argue that ‘Dimma’ is a below-par AFL head coach who is not ready to lead a club through a successful finals campaign and get the best out of his playing group, which is more suited to a more experienced coach.
Realistically, the truth probably lies somewhere in-between, but sometimes the truth is not good enough in professional sport.
After a few finals failures in a row and after another loss to a side Richmond should have beaten, it casts further doubt the validity of the Tigers’ decision to hand Hardwick a two-year contract extension last month.
However, as we know, a contract means little in professional sport these days and if poor results continue, Hardwick can easily be given the boot prior to contract expiring at the end of 2018.
Richmond CEO Brendon Gale has already provided a blueprint for expectations this year.
“Given that we were a few points out of the top four last year, I think it’s a fair aspiration to have” he said.
That top-four spot that provides the double chance would be invaluable for the Tigers, who have not won a final from three attempts in the past three years.
With this weeks’ last minute loss to Collingwood firm in the memory, it seems that the mental toughness required to win a final could still be lacking.
Let’s hope for the long tortured Tigers fans that with their coach’s back against the wall they can come up with at least one win in September.