This is what it’s about as a supporter, thick and thin. On the chance you may one day make it to the top and win the big dance.The league's history is littered with talented sides which haven't done much. What's more, most of Richmond's stars were very young and still needed developing when Hardwick came around.
Hardwick started coaching in the 2010 season. At that time:
Riewoldt was a skinny 21 year old who had kicked 57 goals in 46 games. Not bad, but not amazing either. At the time I thought Richmond needed someone with a bigger presence.
Cotchin had played two injury plagued seasons, and had shown flashes of brilliance, but had three brownlow votes from 25 games.
Rance had played one season and looked like a newborn giraffe trying to play football
Houli was at Windy Hill
Edwards had played three fairly inconsistent seasons
Martin was playing his first season
In Hardwick's first season in charge, his ruckman was Angus Graham, his small forwards were Ben Nason and Andrew Collins, his key backs were Kelvin Moore and Luke McGuane (not bad players, but not a patch on Astbury and Rance) and his "livewires" were guys like Nahas and a Morton. Yes he had some young guns, but he also had a lot of crud. Richmond had no real consistent history of good recruiting or list management. Deledio was Richmond's best player by default, and he under-performed massively under Wallace. Cousins was the "big fish" and flopped.
You're right, every coach needs a good recruiter, but a good coach knows how to utilise that talent to create a team. Sides like Melbourne, Carlton, GWS etc. have had a litany of high draft picks, only to not perform quite as well or not perform really at all. Hardwick has also squeezed as much talent out of players like Broad, Grigg, Townsend, McIntosh, Ellis etc that he can. It's hard to believe though that all this is either luck or someone else's work. I remember when Hardwick started coaching (although this was a constant wish in the 90s and 00s) that I hoped someone would take Richmond to the finals. That Hardwick has won two grand finals just shows what an amazing job he's done. Richmond used to be bad at an institutional, fundamental level. I remember when they were the butt of all bigfooty jokes. Hardwick has changed that. Not singlehandedly, but he's had a major hand in it.
Unfortunately many Richmond supporters have turned the main board into a mini bay 13, where one upmanship and a we’re great and your sh*t type of mentality prevails.
Not sure if they are the long suffering ones or more recent bolt ons with no grasp on history and the fact success isn’t a given.
This is as open, honest and candid as I can remember hearing any Richmond supporter in a long time, so hats of to you.
Richo83 your team may be one of our closest rivals and the colours may not agree with me, but well done to you and your team.
Congratulations, Richmond 2019 Premiers.