In AFL ranks there’s nothing quite like the roar of the Tiger Army in full cry.
That scene was played out last September when Richmond made the finals for the first time since 2001.
But that’s a distant memory now as coach Damien Hardwick’s men suffered another frustrating loss on Friday night at the MCG, going down 9.8 (62) to 7.9 (51) against Sydney after Richmond had led the premiership favourites by 26 points during the second term.
A crowd of 34,633 turned up, after 22,074 attended Richmond’s loss to Fremantle last weekend.
Hardwick laments a lack of goalscoring firepower and says the fans won’t come back in big numbers until they have something to see.
“If you put in a 3-10 season you’re not going to get crowds,” Hardwick said on Friday night.
“We’ve got to make sure we start winning some games to get people back.
“We like to think we play an exciting brand of footy.”
The Tigers have lost seven of their past eight games.
Hardwick is determined to stick with his current lineup rather than experiment with youth.
“We’ll still be out to win games. We’ve had that time in our footy club,” Hardwick said.
“We’ve got to earn our jumper now.
“We won’t be packing up anyone.
“We’ll just continue to try and win footy games, because we owe it to our supporters, we owe it to our members, to make sure we keep going.
“Because we’re well short of where we need to be.”
Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin combined for 70 disposals and nine clearances, but key forward Jack Riewoldt kicked two goals and was out-shone by Sydney’s Lance Franklin who booted four majors.
Despite Franklin’s two goals in the final term to seal the win, Richmond fullback Alex Rance provided a strong contest.
” Alex battled manfully. I thought he won that battle,” Hardwick said.
Richmond regain big forward Ty Vickery from suspension for their Etihad Stadium clash with the struggling Saints on June 28.
“We’re probably lacking that key forward at the moment that can take a big mark,” Hardwick said.
“Jack was really dominant early. Probably faded out of the game.”
Aaron Edwards and Shaun Hampson also failed to fire.
“Our delivery inside 50 wasn’t probably ideal,” Hardwick said.