Tigers’ morale hit by another poor start

Richmond star Jack Riewoldt admits morale isn’t great at Punt Road after another disappointing start to an AFL season but he backed the Tigers to pull off their almost-customary Houdini act to play finals for a fourth year running.

In the past three seasons Richmond have started with win-loss records of 2-4, 2-6 and 3-3 before going on to make the finals.

The Tigers slumped to a 1-4 record after Sunday night’s 33-point defeat to Melbourne and Riewoldt admitted another poor start had taken a toll on morale.

“I wouldn’t say it was great,” Riewoldt told Triple M.

“We’re 1-4 so realistically any side that’s 1-4 isn’t going to be feeling that great about themselves and how they’re going.

“But it’s AFL footy and unfortunately we’ve been in this position before and we’ve fought our way out of it.”

Riewoldt sustained an ankle injury against the Demons but is confident he will be fit to play Port Adelaide at the MCG on Saturday night.

Brett Deledio was a late withdrawal from the team against Melbourne, but is considered a certainty to return from a quad injury to his first game of the season against the Power.

All Australian defender Alex Rance will miss if he accepts a two-game ban for his crude hit on Jack Watts in the dying minutes of the disappointing loss.

Skipper Trent Cotchin has borne the brunt of the criticism leveled at the Tigers for their poor start and Riewoldt took the opportunity to fire back at a perceived media bias against him.

“I could probably go into a few words on what I think about the way he’s been treated with a few expletives,” he said.

“He’s copping it at the moment and he’s copped it ridiculously unfairly from outside the football club and in the media.

“If you look at the performances he’s putting up on field, I can’t disagree any more with the way hes been treated in the media.

“It’s probably been a bit of a witch hunt.”

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