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Richmond chief Gale upbeat on direction of club, comments on Martin future


Departing Richmond CEO Brendon Gale is confident he’ll leave the club in a very strong position when he ups and leaves.

The long-time Tigers chief, who has been in the role since 2009, will depart Punt Road at the conclusion of the 2024 season to take up a key role with the new Tasmanian club.

Gale oversaw three premierships during his successful tenure with the Tigers, but has seen them fall away this season under new coach Adem Yze, most recently copping a 91-point hiding at the hands of the Western Bulldogs.

He acknowledges that it was a tough loss to take, but is remaining upbeat and assured about the direction the club is taking some fours year after their dynasty.


“It was a hard watch and clearly you want to leave the club better than when you started,” Gale said on SEN’s Whateley.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the weeds in this caper and you get quite myopic but I look at the bigger picture.

“We’re a strong football club, we’ve got a strong administration, strong balance sheet, strong business. We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some success and the system does work against you, you try and defy that, but it does (work against you).

“We’ve had some really rotten luck with injury and that’s a reason which might explain where we’re at. We’ve got a really strong draft hand going forward and I think the club is in really good shape to keep moving forward. Football is a continuum.

“There are aspects in which we can clearly get better from Saturday night. They’ll be addressed and were addressed.

“I tend to look at the bigger picture and I think we’re in really good shape as a footy club.”

Gale was quizzed on the quality of the playing list Yze has inherited and whether or not he believes there will be some years of pain ahead for the yellow and black.

“I don’t see that at all,” he replied.

“I see some of the decisions we’ve made in recent years aren’t just to prolong that area of contention, but it’s also to act as a bit of a hedge and a bridge to the next generation.

“Having been successful in recent years we probably haven’t had a chance to really expose our youth, and now we are. We had five picks inside the top 30 in the 2021 draft who are all playing at the moment bar those who are injured.

“What we’ve seen is we had 12 players under 50 games play on Saturday night and that’s wonderful to get a look at them and have that experience, but there is a tipping point where you have a critical mass all at once. It becomes a bit unbalanced and that’s what it looked like. There are some other things that could have been a lot better.

“Our list is ok, it can get better, we go to this year’s draft with a strong draft hand which was arranged beforehand irrespective of where we finish.

“I think we can bounce out of this pretty quickly.”

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Senior players such as Dustin Martin might find it difficult to grapple with this downturn after enjoying the highest of highs in recent years.

Is Martin struggling with the new reality of what Richmond is right now?

“I don’t really know, but I do get the sense that some of our senior players that have been so successful and have been accustomed to playing in the big games and the big moments, I can only assume it is hard and heavy at times,” he said further.

“But it does require a new paradigm and we’ve got to get excitement and optimism and growth in different ways. We’re not going to win every week right now, but we can get excited about the growth of (the likes of) Hugo Ralphsmith, Mykelti Lefau, Maurice Rioli and Seth Campbell. So we’ve got to judge and define success a little differently.

“I can understand at times that some of those players of that ilk might be heavy at times, but that’s what coaching does (improves that) and that’s about management.”

Gale briefly touched on the future of 32-year-old Martin who is out of contract this year and continues to be linked with Gold Coast and Damien Hardwick.

“Our preference will be that he stays at this football club and becomes a Tiger for life,” he added.

“He’s an icon of our club and the game.

“A lot of that will depend on what Dustin thinks and feels, his management too and Blair Hartley who is close with him.”

Three-time Norm Smith Medallist Martin has played 296 games and will soon become just the seventh Tiger to reach the 300 milestone.

Richmond next takes on Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night.


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