Richmond coach Damien Hardwick isn’t sure where it’s all gone wrong for his triple premiership winners.
After his team’s third successive loss — this time, most shockingly, to Gold Coast in Melbourne — he was measured, but seemingly mystified. “It’s hard to answer, to be honest,” he said, followed by: “It is just amazing.”
“Confidence is a funny thing within AFL. You can quickly gain it, you can quickly lose it. The boys are lacking confidence at the moment, which is surprising,” he said.
“When they play their very best they’re a great footy side. At the moment, unfortunately, our players are struggling. When you lack confidence you’re one step behind. Instead of being proactive, you react.
“So we have to build them up and get them better. Once again, we’re not playing our very best footy. I still have a firm belief we’re not too far off it but we certainly have a lot of work to do.”
He denied that his team no longer had the hunger for further success, and said his team had been outworked by a team that took them on and beat them in their own game.
“Our group is very proud. We’re the first to admit we’re not playing to the capacity we think we can,” he said.
“In fairness, Gold Coast were outstanding tonight. I thought they were very good. Their hunger in and around the contest was good, their pressure outside the contest was very good.
“They looked like a side probably similar to us, in fairness, and they replicate a brand that certainly looked like us and played accordingly. They looked very good tonight I thought.”