Richmond would be sitting pretty at the top of the table if it wasn’t for the 2022 “syndrome” that made winning games “slip out of their hands”.
On the ‘expected results’ ladder – which uses Champion Data’s venerable metric, which takes into account foul and most accurate goal kicks based on the results of games played – Richmond and Geelong are tied for the lead with 13 wins to four losses.
Melbourne, Collingwood and Fremantle move into first place with 12-5 records, while Brisbane and Carlton sit at 11-6 and Sydney is eighth at 10-7.
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But after back-to-back losses by four points or less, Richmond’s playoff hopes hang in the balance.
The Tigers are eighth in percentage behind only the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda.
“They close out games like this with their eyes closed,” AFL360’s Mark Robinson said.
“The atmosphere and environment around Richmond has changed – they don’t do it around death for three or four years.”
Gerard Whaley says he took the club back to the “Richmondi” days.
“Richmondi was finding puzzling and unique ways to steal defeat from the jaws of victory,” he explained.
“It’s happened again.
“If you take the expected results, Richmond have four games left on the table, a system they say they’ve lost to.
And that’s nothing, leading the Swans by 31, St Kilda by 25 and Carlton by 20.
This is now a syndrome… this is part of the make-up of Richmond 2022.
Since Round 11, the Tigers have suffered four losses by less than 10 points – to Sydney (six points), Geelong (three points), Gold Coast (two points) and North Melbourne (four points).
In the loss to North Melbourne, Robinson said the “unbelievable” mistakes made by Richmond players were at the death stage and he had never seen them before.
“The frenzy of football has caused sane people to not think straight,” he said.
Dylan Grimes grounded out, allowing Cam Zurhar to hit the game-winning hit.
Ben Miller dropped a simple mark and sent it full leg. When Jake Arts played in the 50’s his entire mind was clouded and he immediately collapsed, instead of lining up the shot he had set up for victory.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick had no answer for his team’s dramatic moments late in the game.
“Unfortunately (Aarts) probably decided that if he took the time again he would take it back, but the fact is he did it, so we’ll keep going,” he said after the game.
“There were many reasons (we lost). The last defensive tackle was poor … you can’t let a guy (Cameron Zurhar) come across the pack and just pass.
“It was funny, and probably summed us up really. It’s Richmond that killed Richmond these days.”
The Tigers now face Fremantle, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn and Essendon at home.