Richmond’s AFL finals drought is unlikely to end soon, with chief executive Brendon Gale saying the Tigers face several years in development mode.Gale says the club is firmly headed down the youth path under new coach Damien Hardwick and will bring in eight or nine youngsters in the upcoming national draft.The Tigers have reached just two finals series in 27 years and their most recent appearance, in 2001, makes them the club with the longest ongoing absence.But Gale said they needed time to reshape and develop their list.”We’ve had one of the oldest lists in the competition up until recently, we’ve taken steps to address that,” Gale told Melbourne’s SEN radio.”But they’re going to be developing years, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”One of the real exciting things about Damien is we’re all very familiar with him as a player and the way he went about his business.”But he’s a passionate teacher, he loves teaching … we’re creating an environment where we’re investing in the capacity of the club to develop and teach our players effectively.”Gale said Richmond would strongly consider disgruntled St Kilda midfielder Luke Ball with their No.2 pick in the pre-season draft, in the unlikely event he gets past Melbourne, who have the first choice.But he said their national draft picks would be reserved for younger players.”(Hardwick’s) got a blueprint for success, I think, which involves a number of ingredients and so there’s a real focus on youth,” Gale said.”We’ve got some established players that are young, 22, 23 years of age, Brett Deledio our back-to-back best and fairest is only 22.”We want to complement that core with a young group and get a core bunch of guys between 21 and 25 in the next few years.”We want to reserve our draft picks to get those sort of players into the club.”Meanwhile, Gale said fan favourite Matthew Richardson is yet to officially confirm he will play on next season.”We’re confident at this stage he will, we’re just awaiting that final confirmation from Matt,” Gale said. AAP
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