Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has slammed a “shameful” defensive effort from his side, taking a shot at even his best performer Dustin Martin after their 70-point AFL loss to Hawthorn.
The Tigers fell away terribly against the premiers on Sunday, conceding just seven goals in three quarters but nine in the final term.
A despondent Hardwick said Hawthorn’s class ultimately told at the MCG, but their own finish was unacceptable.
“Fans pay good money to come and see us play. For us to finish off those last six minutes the way we did I was incredibly disappointed,” he said.
“You can lose a game but to let the game go as we did … I thought our defensive efforts were nothing short of shameful.”
Hardwick didn’t single out Martin, who tallied 39 disposals and at times played a lone hand in midfield.
But a question about Martin’s Brownlow Medal chances – “not on today’s game” – prompted the seventh-season coach to question his decision-making.
“I didn’t think he was that good,” he said.
“He handballed too much early and put ourselves under pressure.
“Don’t get me wrong, his ability to get the ball is outstanding (but) sometimes he can probably take a bit of territory instead of distributing the ball.
“It was a game today not to his usual standard.
“The Brownlow to me is irrelevant. Wins and losses matter to me. It’s probably an event I’m required to go to but it’s not high on my agenda, I’ll give you the tip.”
The Tigers kicked just five goals all match, the club’s lowest return of Hardwick’s reign.
If Richmond don’t improve their intensity, their current tally of seven wins could be their final total for 2016.
They’re likely to start as underdogs for the rest of the season in a challenging end to their miserable campaign.
After falling to Hawthorn, Richmond face the rest of the AFL’s top four – GWS, Sydney and Geelong – in their final five rounds.
Collingwood and red-hot St Kilda round out the taxing month ahead for Hardwick as he ponders how to rejuvenate his side for 2017.
AUGUST PAIN FOR TIGERS? RICHMOND’S TRICKY RUN-IN
R19 – GWS Giants (Canberra)
R20 – Collingwood (MCG)
R21 – Geelong (MCG)
R22 – St Kilda (MCG)
R23 – Sydney (SCG)