DAMIEN Hardwick described it as "Richmond killing Richmond".
Once again, on Saturday evening, the Tigers coughed up a fourth-quarter lead in another regrettable and bitterly disappointing defeat. This time, it came against a dispirited Kangaroos outfit that had lost 14 straight games heading into the contest.
Remarkably, it was the sixth time Richmond has relinquished a fourth-quarter lead so far this year. Since 1999, only one team has lost more games having led in the final term. That came in 2008, when Fremantle dropped seven matches having previously led in the last quarter.
Two other sides have thrown away more wins from such advantageous positions – Sydney's 2002 team and Richmond's 2012 outfit – who lost six matches and drew one each having also held final-quarter buffers.
Richmond's past fortnight has seen it blow a 28-point lead against Gold Coast and then a late four-point advantage against North Melbourne. It also dropped a 17-point buffer against Geelong in round 15, making it three fourth-quarter leads that have evaporated in the past four weeks.
Those games followed a round one loss to Carlton, when it led by 20 points in the final term and lost by 25. Then a round three defeat to St Kilda, when it was four points up in the deciding quarter and lost by 33. In round 11, it was 14 points up in the final term against Sydney only to lose by six points.
NINE THINGS WE LEARNED The Tigers have forgotten how to win
Last week's defeat, given its ability to reclaim the advantage in the dying stages of the game, then drop points against a side as lowly and down-trodden as North Melbourne, might have been the worst of the lot for Richmond.
"It was ridiculous and it probably sums up us, really. It was Richmond killing Richmond. We are, what I think, a quite capable side. But unfortunately, we're not doing the things for long enough or well enough. That's on me," Hardwick said afterwards.
"If we get there, we're a chance. But we've got some work to do. We've got to figure out what makes us, us. At the moment, we're doing a lot of things right but we're killing ourselves."
Richmond 'killing' Richmond was mostly done in front of goal on Saturday. The Tigers kicked a horrible 11.22 (88) overall, including a score of just 1.9 (15) from shots taken inside 30m from goal.
"Our composure, in and around the arc, was poor. Our ability to find a teammate in a better position was poor. North's pressure was OK, but we should have been better and cleaner in those situations to make a good decision," Hardwick said.
The culmination of the bad defeats leaves Richmond's finals chances hanging in the balance, with the Tigers only ahead of both the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda in eighth on percentage as things stand. It now faces crucial home fixtures against top-four outfits Fremantle and Brisbane over the next fortnight.
However, of the aforementioned teams who squandered so many final-quarter leads, Richmond would be the first to still make the finals if it reaches September.
Hardwick will certainly hope the Tigers don't end the year pondering what could have been.