The financial reports for AFL clubs for last season are starting to come in, and early indications are that quite a few clubs are reporting good profits, including clubs which failed to make the final eight.
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Former Hawthorn football director Jason Dunstall is scathing of Richmond’s AFL plight, saying if he was a Tigers board member he would be nervous.
Dunstall said the Tigers must acknowledge their mistakes and quickly reassess where they stand, otherwise they risk setting themselves back by several years.
He went so far as to declare that every Richmond player should be a “tradeable commodity” at the end of this season.
“Go heavy at the trade table, go heavy at the draft,” he told Fox Footy’s On The Couch.
“I would be trading to get early draft picks.
“If they don’t admit they’ve made mistakes and reassess where they’re at, they will set the club back a number of years.”
Richmond’s 38-point loss to Port Adelaide last Friday night left them wallowing at three games out of the top eight.
Coach Damien Hardwick said the loss showed they are off the top-eight pace.
The Tigers had high hopes this season after three-straight elimination finals appearances, but they have struggled for consistency.
Dunstall joins a long list of commentators who have weighed into Richmond since the Port loss.
But his opinion carries particular clout because he was one of the main architects of Hawthorn’s current four-premiership dynasty.
He was a key figure in the Hawks hiring coach Alastair Clarkson, which was a controversial choice at the time.
Dunstall said it was “very odd, very strange” that the Tigers do not have a football director position on their board – the role he served at Hawthorn.
He praised Richmond for their solidarity in their current plight, from president Peggy O’Neal down.
But Dunstall added if he was a Richmond board member, he would be nervous.
“The decisions that we’ve made, as in committing to the coach for another two seasons … and agreeing that we have a strong-enough list to actually get to where we want to go, I’m second-guessing those decisions,” he said.
“They’ve grossly overestimated the quality of that playing list.
“I’m not trying to shout down these players, but they’ve had long enough and it isn’t working.
“The game style isn’t working and I haven’t seen a plan B, let alone a plan C.”
Dunstall was also asked if he was a board member, would he be comfortable with Hardwick as coach for next season.
“I’d need to see a very clear vision going forward,” he said.