With just a draw and a loss to their name since the AFL competition restarted, it’s fair to say there is some pressure building on reigning premiers Richmond.
But the scenes in the locker room after their Thursday night drubbing at the hands of Hawthorn weren’t what you’d expect from a premiership favourite struggling to break out of the blocks.
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Far from the muted atmosphere you might expect after a bad loss, Richmond players were seen laughing among one another after the game, drawing the ire of former Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes.
Rookie Marlion Pickett, who played his first AFL game in last year’s grand final, was singled out by the Power great.
“To see after the game, what could you possibly be laughing about when you haven‘t touched the ball for three weeks?” Cornes asked on the Sunday Footy Show.
“Yes, you had a good Grand Final, but it‘s not a good look and the coaches are filthy with that. (Former Port Adelaide coach) Mark Williams didn’t let us shake hands if we lost a game.
“To see that, how much is it meaning to the Tigers who have been up the top for so long, to see the effort on the field and then to see them mucking around in the changerooms is just a small warning sign.”
Richmond’s premiership hunger questioned
While Pickett has struggled to replicate his scintillating grand final form so far this season, Cornes was worried there was a creeping malaise seeping through the Tigers after several seasons of sustained success.
Cornes, who won a lone premiership back in 2004, said the Tigers needed to ask themselves whether they wanted to be remembered as one of the truly great AFL teams.
“How much is it meaning to the Tigers when they‘ve been up the top for so long? If you want to be remembered as a Brisbane, Geelong or Hawthorn, you’ve probably got to win another one,” he said.
"What could you possibly be laughing about when you haven't touched the ball for three weeks?"@kanecornes has criticised Marlion Pickett for his reaction after Richmond's horror loss to Hawthorn on Thursday night.#9AFLSFS | Watch @channel9 pic.twitter.com/uxWNa6V3oI— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) June 21, 2020
“That‘s not taking anything away from the great side they’ve been the last three years, but on-field and off-field, small warning signs that the hunger isn’t there.”
“I think a three-week stretch of poor form is about the form line where you‘re prepared to look at bringing someone else in and maintaining selection integrity.
“I wouldn‘t be surprised if (Pickett) lost his place in the side this week.”