Four-time premiership Hawk Luke Hodge says there is no need to worry too seriously if you are a Richmond fan.
The reigning premiers are playing well below their best early in the 2020 season, failing to win in three games since the restart with their 1-1-2 record placing them in the lowly position of 14th on the ladder.
There has been plenty of commentary surrounding the Tigers and that perhaps they have lost their hunger and desire after two flags in three years but Hodge believes Damien Hardwick’s side, even though playing poorly, have more than enough quality to respond.
Hodge saw first-hand in the Qualifying Final with the Lions last year just what a happy Tigers side is capable of.
“Their body language which people have been talking about, they say, ‘They don’t look motivated, they don’t look enthusiastic’,” Hodge said on SEN's Whateley.
“I played against a team in the first final last year, their body language was exactly the same. They were joking around and that’s how they played their best football last year.
“There’s no doubt they haven’t got off to the start they wanted but they won the premiership last year and currently at this stage they’re sitting 14th and have had one win and one draw (plus two losses). Last year they were sitting 13th at this stage and they had two wins and two losses.
“So you sort of sit back and go, ‘Is it time for them to stress?’ No, I don’t think so.
“Yes, Dimma (Hardwick) is going to be trying to poke ways to get them to play better football at this stage to make sure they gather their wins but as they did last year, they want to be playing their best football at the end of the year.
“I know that they believe they have the ability, once they are playing their best football, that they can win the premiership.
“At this stage he’s tinkering with a few things and trying to make sure they are picking up a few wins but I don’t think it’s at the stress stage for the Richmond Football Club just yet.”
Do really good sides feel they are able to simply flick the switch and turn on their better footy?
“Yes, you do,” Hodge added.
“Especially in the close games.
“They’ve been at the top of their game for the last three years. Yes, they failed in the prelim two years but they’ve been the best team in the league the last three years.
“At times you sort of just expect it is going to happen. Dimma knows that team fairly well so he’ll be tweaking a few things here or there to make sure that they do improve the style of football that they are playing.
“I wouldn’t be too worried considering last year they had a percentage of 61 and it’s 87 at the moment with a draw.”
Hodge added further that the Tigers have not yet been beaten by a poor side which again suggests to him that there is no major crisis at Punt Road.
“They’ve lost to Hawthorn and they are going to do that to a lot of teams the way they move the ball and the way the coaching staff breaks down the opposition,” he continued.
“And St Kilda. They’ll have their downside like they did last week (against Collingwood) but they’re also going to embarrass a few good teams. So the teams they’ve lost to, it’s not as if they’re the cellar dwellers.”
The Tigers will look to break their three-game winless run when they take on Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.