Wholesale trades are not the answer at Richmond, but rather getting more of their extended roster to an elite AFL level, says Tigers coach Damien Hardwick.
Richmond who have been inconsistent throughout the season had their hopes of a fourth straight finals appearance all but killed off in their round 15 loss to Port Adelaide, which left them languishing three wins outside the top eight.
“People only see the 22 we put out there, the top of the iceberg,” Hardwick told reporters on Thursday.
“What I am excited about is what is underneath. That is really exciting for us and we are going to see some of those boys play.
“We’re after more players (who can) play what we call `above the line’, playing not just to a capable standard. We’re after more players who can jump up.”
Club legend Kevin Bartlett has called for Hardwick to make hard decisions on the list, while Fox Footy analyst Jason Dunstall believes every Richmond player should be treated as a “tradeable commodity” at season’s end.
Star midfielder Brett Deledio admitted the side has not lived up to both internal and external expectations but also believes improvement within the current squad is the way forward.
“You get rid of your good players – an Alex Rance, for example – and you get a high draft pick, there’s no guarantee the high draft pick’s going to come in and be a star,” Deledio told RSN radio on Thursday.
“Why would you give up a bona fide superstar to get in a kid?”
The elite midfielder pointed his finger elsewhere to explain the Tigers’ woes, disagreeing its current list was not good enough to push for a premiership.
“We’ve had some really bad injuries to key players at the start of the year,” he said.
“The Collingwood game really sunk the wind out of our sails. We lost a lot of confidence out of our ability to perform under pressure.”