WHILE most people thought Richmond was marching to the 2018 flag, the Tigers saw signs they weren't firing on all cylinders before the home and away season ended.

Richmond CEO Brendon Gale spoke on the In the Game podcast with Damian Barrett and explained when the side began to fall away,

"I think it was probably a little earlier than round 23," Gale said.

"Upon reflection, when you're in the moment, you're optimistic and you're hopeful and you're probably seeing the positive, from where I sit anyway, but upon reflection, the KPIs (key performance indicators) that underpin the way we play were coming off."

Gale pointed out being minor premiers didn't necessarily mean much. 

"Maybe when everywhere you turn, (people talking about) back-to-back (flags), raging favourites, maybe a bit of it sinks in. You know, they're only human beings," Gale said. 

"Talking to (assistant coach) Justin Leppitsch a few weeks ago, he said in all their premierships at Brisbane, they never finished on top. That's food for thought."

Despite missing out, Gale expressed pride in the players.

"I couldn't be more proud for the way they responded as defending premiers," Gale said.

"To put themselves in a position to win another one, to finish top of the ladder and get to a prelim, I couldn't ask for more as an administrator and we couldn't ask for more as a club."

Episode guide

8:35 – Why Richmond didn't win the flag 

14:40 – Admitting the Ben Cousins move didn't work

17:20 – Greater Western Sydney's pursuit of Dustin Martin and how Trent Cotchin helped Dusty become a superstar 

21:55 – The ambitious 3-0-75 pledge (three finals series, zero debt, 75,000 members) and the doubts around that

24:20 – How cold water swimming brings balance in his life

28:50 – Gale sings a few lines of Paul Kelly’s To Her Door

30:50 – Going for the AFL CEO job (until Gale shuts the discussion down) 

34:05 – Reviewing coach Damien Hardwick at the end of 2016

40:10 – On football in Tasmania, and how the AFL's philosophy might determine whether it should have a team there

Find In the Game on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify