Shattered Tigers vow to continue climb

Richmond chief Brendon Gale has dismissed suggestions Carlton held a psychological advantage over the Tigers as his club set about picking up the pieces after Sunday’s “shattering” elimination final loss to the Blues.

And Gale said Damien Hardwick’s side must now set its goal at playing finals again in 2014 – an achievement not reached by Richmond in four decades since its premiership years of 1973 and ’74 and a further highly placed finish in 1975 when the club last played in successive finals’ series.

“I don’t think Carlton are a bogey side for us,” Gale said on Monday as he reflected on the Tigers’ 11th loss in 12 outings to the Blues. “We were a club which was down on its knees in 2009 and ’10 and ’11 when a lot of those losses took place.

“We certainly won’t shy away from taking it up to them early next season. The biggest teams, the best venues and the biggest stages – I can’t wait for us to be back into it. We would hope and we would expect to play successive finals next year. We are building consistently but we know we are not there yet.”

While Hardwick angrily took his players to task after the game for failing to follow plans that had largely proved successful during the regular season, Gale said he expected coaches, players and staff to regroup quickly and work on what the club had achieved in winning 15 games.

“It’s a very, very, very bitter pill to swallow, particularly losing to Carlton,” Gale said. ”That’s just to say there’s a very fierce rivalry between us, between the players and between our supporters, and right now they have every right as I do to feel very disappointed in the result and in the performance.”

Gale said the club would target players through the trade period or via free agency and had identified the need to work on leadership in the team.

About nine senior players will travel to Brazil with player development boss Wayne Campbell and consulting psychologist Pippa Grange later this year for a leadership conference and Gale also pointed to the establishment of a Richmond VFL team as another “step in the right direction”.

“In the whole scheme of things to have played the football we have during the year, we know we are heading in the right direction. It has been a significant achievement, a very important mark in this journey we are on.

“Hopefully you will see another big step next year. I can’t wait for us to be back. To have witnessed what we did at the start of the game on Sunday – it’s intoxicating.”

AFL chief Andrew Demetriou admitted he could not recall hearing a sound at the MCG comparable with what he heard on Sunday when the Tigers first ran onto the ground. “It was amazing, quite incredible,” he said. “The game was highly emotional and the atmosphere was unbelievable.”

Despite crashing out of September earlier than expected, the Tigers are expected to record a profit of $3 million in the final year of Gary March’s presidency. March’s replacement is expected to come from club director Malcolm Speed or vice-president Maurice O’Shannassy.

Carlton president Stephen Kernahan, who said he would step down should the Blues end the season poorly, is expected to remain at the helm for one final season – the club’s 150th – with Ahmed Fahour and Richard Newton pushing to take on the job at the end of 2014.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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