Jack Riewoldt has avoided the axe from Richmond’s AFL side to face Greater Western Sydney but he couldn’t out-run media as he made a bizarre dash from training.
The out-of-form Coleman medallist was brought sharply into line by coach Damien Hardwick on Thursday morning for suggesting the Tigers had tried and failed to replicate the game plan of premiers Hawthorn.
“We caught up with him this morning and removed his foot from his mouth and my foot from his arse,” Hardwick said.
“Obviously we were pretty disappointed with his comments.
“We talk about being a united footy club and Jack went outside those boundaries.
“Unfortunately, he’s learned a harsh lesson from that.”
A day after those candid comments, Riewoldt was in no mood for more media attention.
He went to extraordinary – and unsuccessful – attempts after Thursday training to keep a low profile.
Riewoldt climbed over a construction fence, ran across Punt Road and hid behind a car before buying a myki pass and boarding a train to avoid answering questions.
The key forward then took to Twitter to try to end the circus.
“Poor choice of words by me yesterday and poor timing. I’ve copped my right whack and moved on, can’t wait to play this weekend #gotiges” he tweeted.
Hardwick met one-on-one with Riewoldt on Thursday morning and later in the day with the team’s leadership group.
While Hardwick considering dropping the forward, the club confirmed later on Thursday afternoon Riewoldt would line up against the Giants.
Hardwick said Riewoldt couldn’t explain his comment that the club’s game plan had “gone this way and the competition had gone the other”.
“That’s the baffling question … I don’t think he actually knew what he was saying,” he said.
“He doesn’t know why he said it or what he meant so we’ll take it for what it is.”
It’s the latest example of curious behaviour from Riewoldt after he slapped a media ban on himself earlier this year.
He ran from journalists at a Melbourne basketball centre last month despite appearing at a promotion.
For the under-pressure Tigers, it’s the last thing the club needed after their loss to Melbourne last week.
Hardwick said the team had not changed their game plan from the last season, but their poor form did not allow them to effectively execute it.
He said their drop-off in contested ball was hurting them.
Former Giant Anthony Miles, freshly elevated from the rookie list, is set for a game to help boost this area.
Hardwick also lamented their effectiveness going inside 50m.
The frustrated coach said the form slump had been the toughest time of his five-year tenure.
“We’re just not playing anywhere need where we want to be.
“There’s some things that we know are going wrong that we’re addressing but are they getting better at the rate we’d like? – no.”