Richmond CEO Brendon Gale has scoffed at suggestions his club is arrogant after launching an impassioned defence of the Tigers on AFL grand final day.
The Tigers have been embroiled in several off-field issues this year - most notably the 10-game bans handed to Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones for breaching the AFL's COVID-19 protocols at a Surfers Paradise strip club.
'REALLY HARD': Jordan Ablett on son's tragic health battle
'NOT ACCURATE': QLD Health blasted over AFL Grand Final gaffe
'SUSPICIOUS’: AFL star's house catches fire on eve of Grand Final
The club was also fined $45,000 for another virus breach after Trent Cotchin’s wife, Brooke, left their Gold Coast quarantine bubble to visit a day spa.
Richmond has copped plenty of backlash over the indiscretions, with some critics insisting it shows an arrogance at the club.
The Tigers' chief executive says that couldn't be further from the truth.
“I think our footy club has a really strong and well-developed sense of who we are and what makes us us, and that hasn’t changed,” Gale told Fox Footy’s Saturday Countdown.
“And we’ve had some mistakes this year and some own goals and we don’t walk away from that. But the way that’s been presented externally and I guess the popular narrative that’s been propagated in the media about us has, well, it’s been fictional. It’s just laughable. It’s not true.
“This view that we’re a club that’s choking in hubris, that we’re arrogant, that we’re out of control or that we are lacking leadership and et cetera, et cetera. It’s a convenient narrative for a reigning premier that’s had a couple of mistakes and all of a sudden, ‘here we go, we’re on a downward spiral’.
“We’re an extremely humble group, they’re extremely hungry, they’re driven, they’ve got high standards, they’re caring ... it hasn’t changed at all.”
Former players such as Kane Cornes and Jonathan Brown pointed to Richmond's lack of on-field discipline as another area of concern that the team needs to address.
Richmond’s on-field discipline questioned
The criticism came after Richmond gave away four separate 50-metre penalties during their qualifying final defeat to Brisbane at the start of October.
“It’s not good enough. It’s why you lose finals,” Brown told On The Couch at the time.
“When you’ve been the top dog for a few years, you’ve got to be careful (you don’t) get this arrogance about you in the wrong way. I was involved in a team that when sides started to challenge us back in the early 2000s, we got our back up a bit.
“I think Richmond can recover from (this), because they aren’t an ageing team like Brisbane were. They’re still well and truly in their prime this team, but they’ve got to fix their discipline.”
St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt said just as a team's mentality is praised when they're winning, so too is it scrutinised when they're not.
“They’ve had these moments, not just on the field but off the field, this year. But because you win, you get referred to as having a ‘great culture’, so you are winning because of your culture despite the off-field stuff.
“This is the first time in that period where all the that stuff we’ve spoken about with Richmond this year, you can really start to question the humility and some of those things.”
However, Gale said the negativity from outside the club would only fuel the fire for Richmond's players to prove the critics wrong.
“It has made us a little tighter and really forged that strength and relationship even more,” Gale said.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.