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Poor year sends Tigers 'off Broadway' in 2017

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Tigers players look dejected after a loss during the 2016 AFL Round 22 match between the Richmond Tigers and the St Kilda Saints at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 20, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Tigers players look dejected after a loss during the 2016 AFL Round 22 match between the Richmond Tigers and the St Kilda Saints at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 20, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

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RICHMOND will be 'off Broadway' in 2017 after poor performances on-field during prime-time in 2016. 

The big drawing Tigers were penalised after failing to fire in a season where they had six Friday night games but dropped out of the finals race two-thirds of the way through the year.

Richmond does not play a Friday night game in 2017 and moves out of the spotlight after playing the opening two rounds of the season on Thursday night against traditional rivals, Carlton and Collingwood.

Just 12 of the 42 Friday night spots in 2017 are taken by teams that did not make the finals in 2016, with round 18-22 Friday nights featuring only teams that finished top six last season.

The Tigers have not finished top six since 2001.

In the opening 12 games, Richmond plays six non-Victorian teams, with three matches outside Victoria.

CEO Brendon Gale conceded the Tigers were disappointed to miss out on playing Friday nights, particularly given the level of support the club had rebuilt in recent seasons with more than 70,000 members.

"We are a big club with the third biggest membership in the league, and our games always rate well in that timeslot. Equally, we understand the need to reward some of the better performed sides from last season," Gale told richmondfc.com.au.

The Tigers averaged attendances of 44,352 on Friday nights in 2016, above the season average for home and away games in that timeslot, but their late-season games lacked drama as they had no chance of making the final eight.

Richmond has retained the opening slot to the season, as well as the Anzac eve clash against Melbourne and Dreamtime at the 'G against Essendon.

However it plays two games in Queensland for the first time in a season since 2014 and has return bouts against the Brisbane Lions and the Giants, which don't traditionally draw big crowds.