Grimes planned to leave Tigers’ AFL hub

Richmond’s triple-premiership defender Dylan Grimes says he only intended to spend two weeks in the AFL club’s Queensland hub as he grappled with the responsibility of running a business back home.

Grimes owns a winery in Victoria’s Mount Macedon and, as it has for many people, the pressures of COVID-19 placed plenty of stress on the business, making him reluctant to leave home for an extended period.

But when Richmond came under scrutiny after senior players indicated they were not keen on entering a hub, Grimes opted to temporarily head north to silence the criticism.

“I packed that light coming up here because Elisha, my wife, was in Melbourne,” Grimes told the Sunday Footy Show.

“We were copping a lot of heat, Richmond players, for thinking about maybe not coming into the hub and it was a lot of talk.

“I thought ‘well I don’t want to add to that – so I’ll come up for two weeks, I’ll do the two weeks and then I’m going to have to come back’.

“The business, the farm, there was so much going on for us personally given COVID and everything – we had staff that we were trying to pay throughout this time and it was really tough.

“So I thought in my mind ‘I’m going to be here for two weeks and then I’m going to be coming straight back’.”

Months later, Grimes revealed the hub had become like “home” for the Tigers and brought the players closer together.

Lockdown initially proved challenging for the Tigers, with the biggest hurdle coming in early September when youngsters Sydney Stack and Callum Coleman-Jones were sent home after a drunken brawl outside a Gold Coast takeaway food outlet.

Grimes admitted that indiscretion had left Richmond’s leadership initially questioning the culture they had created – but ultimately the setback galvanised them.

That culminated in Saturday night’s AFL grand final win over Geelong – a premiership Grimes said he valued the most of the three he has won with the Tigers because of the sacrifices made around the league.

“In the days after the incident where the guys left the hub, a lot of us were at rock bottom,” Grimes said.

“We felt like as a playing group, as a club, we’d been challenged.

“We had a huge game – we actually played Geelong that week as well (and won). It was a moment for us where we had to galvanise.

“We’ve gone from rock bottom to just growing and growing, and we built something that was just remarkable – it was by far the most rewarding season I’ve ever played in.”

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Dylan Grimes almost left Richmond Tigers hub because of business troubles

“I haven’t told anyone this but I packed that light coming up here because Elisha, my wife, was in Melbourne … we were copping a lot of heat, Richmond players maybe thinking about not coming into the hub,” Grimes told The Sunday Footy Show.

“I thought ‘I don’t wanna add to that so I will come up for two weeks, I’ll do the two weeks and then I am going to have to come back’.

“The business, the farm, there was so much going on for us personally given COVID and everything.

“We had staff we were trying to pay throughout this time, it was really tough.

“I thought in my mind ‘I am going to be here for two weeks and then I am going to be coming straight back.'”

Grimes stayed because “a couple of weeks in, the mateship and the bond that just grew [helped], it was really tough the first couple of weeks”.

Grimes at his winery in 2017.Credit:Chris Hopkins

Given star defender Alex Rance retired before the season and David Astubry missed most of the season through injury, Grimes was absolutely crucial to the Tigers’ top-four finish with his sublime defensive efforts alongside Noah Balta and Nick Vlastuin.

Had he missed a chunk of games because of going back to Victoria, it is conceivable Richmond may not have finished in the top four.


Grimes also spoke about how controversies that dogged the Tigers this season – including the Coleman-Jones and Stack hub breach, Tom Lynch’s ill-discipline, the team’s 50-metre penalty problem, the hub breach by Trent Cotchin’s wife and Damien Hardwick’s comments about former Melbourne player David Schwarz – made him question the club’s culture.

“We had mistakes up here and that really cut you because we are a proud club,” he said.

“We felt like we built a really strong culture but I can see from the outside it didn’t look like that.

“You think ‘oh man, do we have it right? Is this right? Are we doing the right thing as leaders, as older players?’


“We had faith that maybe these are a couple of isolated incidents, maybe we are as strong as we think we are.

“I think every challenge we had we kept coming closer and closer and we felt like we had grown through everything.

“In the days after the incident where the guys [Stack and Coleman-Jones] left the hub, a lot of us were at rock bottom there.

“We felt as a playing group and as a club we’d been challenged.

“It was a moment for us where we had to galvanise.”

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Tigers to play it careful with hurt Grimes

Richmond defender Dylan Grimes may be kept in cotton wool until this year’s AFL finals series after picking up a hamstring injury in Thursday’s win over West Coast.

The two-time premiership player limped off in the second quarter of the 27-point win over flag rivals the Eagles at Metricon Stadium.

While coach Damien Hardwick is confident the complaint is just a minor strain, Grimes’ history of soft-tissue injuries means a cautious approach is likely.

With a congested schedule of fixtures between now and Richmond’s scheduled final regular season match on September 19, the 29-year-old may not return until the post-season.

“Dyl’s had some history so we just have to be mindful with such an important player for us and one of the best defenders in the AFL,” Hardwick said.

“We’ve got to make sure he’s right for when the whips are cracking.”

The Tigers welcomed back ruckman Toby Nankervis for Thursday’s match in his first game since round five.

The dual premiership tall combined with Ivan Soldo to do a good job in controlling the impact of Eagles’ superstar Nic Naitanui.

With Mabior Chol having impressed in Nankervis’s absence, Hardwick is entering the final third of the season with a wealth of ruck options.

“We’re really impressed with Marbs. He was probably a little bit flat last week so it was sort of, his form had tapered off a fraction, but we’re really excited by what all those three boys can bring in,” Hardwick said.

“At various stages, we’re going to go two out of the three will play, we’ve just got to figure out what it looks like is the best option for us moving forward.

“The great thing about it as a coach, you’ve got three really good players that can come in and fulfill a role for us so we’re just going to pick the right option on the right day.”

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Second man charged for allegedly harassing Dylan Grimes online

Concerned about the wellbeing of his family due to the nature of some of the abuse, Grimes went to the police with the full support of Richmond.

Tigers CEO Brendon Gale said on 3AW radio on Tuesday night it was decision Grimes took to protect his family and for the wider community.

“In the past, players have probably just copped it on the chin and not wanted to take a position and make a big deal of it and draw attention to it – and there was an element of that with Dylan – but I think there have been some recent instances where players have got up and said I’m not going to cop it anymore,” Gale said.

“There is a line and I think what we are doing is better articulating where that line is.”

He said people needed to know if they engaged in hateful and threatening behaviour online they would be tracked down and arrested.

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AFL 2020: Dylan Grimes staging, tribunal verdict, Nick Vlastuin case thrown out, dangerous tackle, Damien Hardwick

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has admitted he staged for free kicks during his playing career, defending cleared Tigers Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlaustin after they successfully appealed staging fines.

Grimes and Vlaustin had their financial sanctions cleared after lodging written submissions to legally-trained Tribunal jury members.

Speaking to media on Wednesday, Hardwick said Grimes and Vlaustin’s actions against Essendon were no different to those that regularly happen on the footy field.

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Round 14


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AFL 2020: AFL Tribunal live blog, Sam Powell-Pepper Tribunal, Luke Dahlhaus Tribunal, Dylan Grimes, Nick Vlastuin, staging

Port Adelaide and Geelong have both received boosts ahead of their Round 14 clashes, with Sam Powell-Pepper and Luke Dahlhaus both free to play after AFL Tribunal hearings over their rough conduct charges.

Both incidents were assessed as being careless with medium impact and high contact on Hawthorn’s Ben McEvoy and Adelaide’s Matt Crouch respectively. Follow our live blog below.

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Evolution of tackle sanctions


Round 14

Meanwhile Richmond pair Dylan Grimes and Nick Vlastuin will provide written challenges to the AFL Tribunal after the received $750 and $500 fines respectively during Saturday’s Dreamtime game.

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Richmond’s Dylan Grimes thanks police as man charged over alleged online threats after controversial free kick

Police have charged a Melbourne man over alleged online threats levelled at Richmond defender Dylan Grimes after a controversial free kick in his team’s victory over Essendon on Saturday.

Grimes, who had been accused by some of staging for a free kick during the Dreamtime match in Darwin, took to social media after the game to report “death threats and suicide suggestions”.

In a statement, Victoria Police said officers had executed a warrant at a Frankston address on Monday and arrested a 39-year-old man, who was later charged with stalking, using a telecommunications device to menace, making a threat to commit sexual offences and other charges.

Through his club, Grimes thanked police for “promptly protecting the physical safety of my family while I am away”.

“The severity and pointed nature of these threats went way beyond what I would call normal post-game banter with this individual, so much so that we were concerned for the safety of my family back home in Victoria,” he said in a statement.

“Honestly, I am disappointed that this has escalated to this extent, I’d really like to move on from it and get back to focusing on footy, but at the same time I also encourage people to continue to call out this kind behaviour.

“It’s not right for anyone, including players and their families, to have their safety threatened.”

Richmond’s CEO Brendan Gale said it was important that the AFL community was united in stamping out the “ugly, abusive behaviour”.

The club described the online harassment as “extreme threats that compromised the safety of Dylan Grimes and his family”.

AFL Players Association boss Paul Marsh was among those to denounce the alleged threats in recent days, warning that abusive messages were being sent to players “every week and it has to stop”.

The alleged threat against Grimes came two weeks after Greater Western Sydney player Callan Ward also received death threats and abuse when accused of staging for a free kick.

The 39-year-old man has been bailed to appear before the Frankston Magistrates’ Court on May 4, 2021.

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Dylan Grimes, Nick Vlastuin challenge staging fines

According to the league’s official guidelines, staging can include “excessive exaggeration of contact in an unsportsmanlike manner”.

Grimes and Vlastuin will hand in written submissions in a bid to clear their names.

Though staging for free kicks has become an increasing point of debate this year, Dangerfield said the controversy was a “storm in a teacup” and that incidents had been overblown.

“It’s been a part of sport as long as sport has been sport, regardless of whether it’s AFL, basketball, soccer – it just exists. You would like that it didn’t happen,” he said on Tuesday.

“I am not going to sit here on my high horse and say I have never not done it because it’s not true. So, I think sometimes these things are a bit of a storm in a teacup. You see a few examples and if there isn’t a huge amount else happening in the competition at the time, that’s the trend story that tends to last for seven, eight, nine days.

“I think there is a bit of that. I think Kevin Sheedy on The Front Bar said it best last week, when he was talking about staging – it’s been around for years and years and this isn’t something that’s new.”

Dangerfield said the current potential penalties – and personal abuse through social media – were enough of a deterrent.

“There are already penalties for staging incidents. There wasn’t not too long ago. I am very comfortable where it sits now,” he said.

“Players are already dragged across hot coals when they are open themselves with being on social media. It’s a great way to engage your fans but they are also ridiculed when abused because of it. I think that’s tough enough on our players as it is, let alone the sanctions they get from the AFL at different stages.”


Meanwhile, the tribunal will sit again on Tuesday night to hear challenges from Port Adelaide’s Sam Powell-Pepper and Geelong’s Luke Dahlhaus.

Powell-Pepper’s rough conduct charge was categorised as careless conduct with medium impact to the head.

Dahlhaus’ dangerous tackle on Adelaide’s Matt Crouch on Sunday was assessed as careless conduct, medium impact and high contact.

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Dylan Grimes subjected to “death threats” after contentious free kick

Richmond’s Dylan Grimes has been subjected to “death threats and suicide suggestions” after a contentious free kick during Saturday night’s 12-point win over Essendon.

Bombers forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti had a goal disallowed late in the second quarter when Jake Stringer was penalised for a push on Grimes in a marking contest.

The dual premiership defender has been accused of diving to win the free kick with the Tigers kicking the next two goals in a low scoring first half.

Grimes revealed on Instagram that he had been the target of vile abuse from Essendon fans.

The 29-year-old was fined $1000 for staging in last year’s qualifying final win over Brisbane.

Richmond’s win in the Dreamtime match in Darwin was their 10th in a row over the Bombers.

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Lewis slams Grimes free kick

Four-time Hawthorn premiership player Jordan Lewis says Tiger Dylan Grimes would like to revisit the free kick he was awarded in the second quarter of tonight’s clash with Essendon.

Bomber Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti kicked a goal but the umpire deemed Jake Stringer to have pushed Grimes out of the marking contest.

Lewis said on Fox Footy that there must be consistency around the ground on contentious free kicks.

“It’s a borderline flop,” he said.

“I think if we’re going to be hard on forwards that play for free kicks, I think the same needs to be said for defenders who are trying to draw a free kick.

“For him to dive forward at least another couple of metres, after getting body contact, I think he’d like to have that moment again.”

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