The reigning premiers have been the powerhouse of the AFL for the last four or five years.
From all their successes of their premierships years, 2021 has been their worst start for some time and it poses the question as to whether or not the Tigers are still at that flag-winning level.
Last Friday, against the Cats, the Tigers played an appalling second half in which they managed just two goals to the 13 of the Cats.
The Richmond side that we know all too well were out in full force early in the game, but the night was quickly flipped on its head as Geelong began to flex their muscles.
It’s difficult to pinpoint particular areas of improvement after such a smashing but it was obvious that there was a lack of hunger in the contest, particularly from the Richmond midfield.
The absence of skipper Trent Cotchin may be part of the reason for this as he is often ferocious at the contest and inspires his teammates, especially the rest of the midfield group playing alongside him.
Dustin Martin was nowhere near his triple Norm Smith best as he almost seemed intimidated by the Cats’ midfield, which was dominating the contest as the second half progressed.
Key forwards Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt were nowhere to be seen and were consistently beaten in one-on-one contests by the likes of Jack Henry and Lachie Henderson.
The back six for the Tigers looked as stable as always early in the piece but as the game unfolded, Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron and Gary Rohan all found their form to each kick bags.
So what’s next for the reigning premiers? They’ve got an inconsistent Giants outfit ahead of them. The Giants only sit one spot below them on the ladder. GWS are coming off a huge win against the Crows as well as a thrilling two-point win over the Bombers last week.
Tim Taranto, Josh Kelly and Tom Green have all been dangerous, amassing many disposals between them as well as hitting the scoreboard. Under the roof of Marvel Stadium, where the Tigers aren’t as comfortable as they are at the G, it shapes to be an intriguing contest.
Richmond fans would be wondering about the line-up changes for Saturday night’s game. Shane Edwards’ injury from the Geelong game means the Tigers will have to search for yet another replacement on top of Shai Bolton.
After suffering a concussion of sorts against the Bulldogs, Dylan Grimes should return for the GWS game, bolstering the back line. There is a good chance that Rhyan Mansell may be dropped after not having a huge impact last week and Pat Naish might be a chance to finally get on the field after spending the Tigers’ last two games as the medical sub.
Dan Rioli is apparently expected to play, despite the nightclub incident, and Will Martyn and Hugo Ralphsmith are reported to have played good games in the VFL before the side had a bye last weekend.
The Tigers’ next month consists of GWS, Brisbane, Adelaide and Essendon. Being a top side for so long, they are all extremely winnable games for Richmond.
The Brisbane game will be up at the Gabba on a Friday night. That will be a massive clash as the Lions continue to bang down the door of the top four and the Tigers will seek revenge after the Lions well and truly beat them in the qualifying final last year.
With a record of 4-4, Damien Hardwick has voiced that he is backing his boys for a response this week as they continue to strive for the consistency that they’ve lacked for the first eight rounds of this 2021 season.
We thought the old Richmond was back after responses against the Saints and Bulldogs but we’re yet to be fully convinced.
We know flags aren’t won in May, but is the dynasty coming to a close?