Richmond captain Trent Cotchin and wife Brooke nearly walked out of the AFL’s Queensland hub, according to the wife of the club’s chief executive.
The Tigers were slapped with a $45,000 fine (with $25,000 suspended) after Brooke visited a day spa while in the high performance centre, a clear breach of the COVID-19 protocols put in place by league headquarters.
Just days after Brooke’s father took a swipe at the AFL and Richmond over their handling of the incident, CEO Brendon Gale’s wife Jane revealed the Cotchin’s nearly attempted to return to Victoria.
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“Richmond chief executive Brendan Gale, his wife Jane has confirmed the open secret in AFL circles that the Cotchin’s tried to escape their Gold Coast hub after the COVID breach of Brooke,” Herald Sun AFL reporter Jon Ralph explained on Fox Footy.
“Now if that sentence seems extraordinary, that’s the COVID situation we are in right now.
“The Tigers thought they had calmed the farm over the Cotchin situation after everyone knew they tried to alleviate that and abandon the hub, had even complained to Gillon McLachlan.
“Then Brooke’s father Rick spoke out about being muzzled and Brendon not doing enough and then Brooke spoke out in the Herald Sub about internet trolls.
“The final chapter today when Jane confirmed in the Herald Sun in her words ‘had threatened to leave the hub at one point’.
“If that was a tabloid spat happening at Collingwood, you would say it is derailing the season, Richmond are absolutely flying.”
Richmond is back in form after a big win over West Coast on Thursday night.
However, AFL greats Nick Riewoldt and Dermott Brereton believe the Cotchin incident could begin to become an issue if the Tigers slump towards the end of 2020.
“I think it has got the capacity to create some a real embarrassment within the group. Clearly it isn’t having an effect on the fortunes of the team (at the moment,” Brereton said.
“You just wonder if the pressure does come,” Riewoldt added on Fox Footy.
“At the moment they are playing good footy. We all know it is hard to move on from those things when you’re winning but as soon as the pressure does come (it could change).
“This will be one of the first things people turn to (if it gets ugly).”