It’s looking increasingly likely that Richmond will sack Terry Wallace as its coach in the next few weeks. Unfortunately for Tigers supporters Richmond need more than a new coach if they are ever going to be successful. I don’t think that their problems lie with the coach!!!
When Wallace arrived at Richmond there were high hopes that he was going to be the one to take the Tigers to the premiership. He had previously taken the Western Bulldogs to a couple of preliminary finals and was seen as one of the AFL’s most professional and innovative coaches. At the end of 2008 the Tiges were a much improved team and looked like they were on the verge of success. Matthew Richardson had come within a whisker of winning the Brownlow Medal and Richmond had just missed out on a finals berth. Many people thought that this year, with the addition of Ben Cousins, that the Tigers would finally take the next step and deliver on all the promise that they have shown in the past.
After the first four games this season Richmond has again frustrated their supporters. They have not won a game yet and were last week outclassed by last season’s wooden spooner Melbourne. Many supporters are calling for the coaches head yet I feel that even if Wallace is sacked nothing will change at Richmond. Richmond will still be a mediocre team that will occassionally show flashes of brilliance that will get supporters hopes up high. Since they last held the Premiership Cup aloft in 1980 Richmond have had some great coaches such as Allan Jeans and Robert Walls who have both tasted premiership success with other teams (Jeans had multiple successes at St Kilda and Hawthorn, while Walls won at Carlton in 1987), as well as John Northey who took Melbourne to a Grand Final in 1988 and made the Demons a side to be feared in the late 80s and early 90s. Richmond has only been in two finals series since they lost the 1982 Grand Final to Carlton, the most recent time being in 2001 when Danny Frawley took them to a Preliminary Final.
There have been rumours that Richmond will replace Wallace with Kevin Sheedy sometime before the end of 2009 as an interim coach, with the aim being that they will try to snare Collingwood’s Mick Malthouse for 2010. Other successful coaches such as Leigh Matthews, Mark Williams and Dennis Pagan have also been mentioned in relation to the Tigers’ job. While the challenge of trying to make a basketcase like Richmond into a successful club has to have some allure, Tigers’ fans and board members are all well known for eating their coaches alive if (when) they do not get the expected success.