Richmond CEO Brendon Gale says there was never any doubt about Neil Balme staying at Tigerland, following Monday's confirmation that Balme will continue in his role of Senior Club Advisor.
Speaking to SEN on Thursday afternoon, Gale further emphasized the value Balme brings to the Club.
"Blair Hartly (General Manager of Football Talent) and Tim Livingstone (General Manager of Football Performance) head our football department in terms of management and leadership," Gale said.
"But Neil’s got a very, very important role and he’s stepped aside in the last couple of years to help enable their growth. His wisdom, judgement and presence is very, very important to us still.
"I think he was approached by Adelaide to be fair. He’s a terrific fella and took the call, they had a yak and things got away from there. I think that’s the only way I can put it.
"He's still contracted, but he's at Richmond because he wants to be at Richmond and his heart's at Richmond and we've still got work to do."
Richmond Senior Club Advisor Neil Balme has made the following statement regarding recent media reports. pic.twitter.com/QK0Wzt9QLI— Richmond FC ???? (@Richmond_FC) August 30, 2021
With a vaccination target now set for Victoria, Gale stressed the importance of getting vaccinated if you can.
"It's really important. This has been tough for the entire community and nation for coming on two years," he said.
"We'll get through it, there is a way. We need to remain hopeful, and getting vaccinated, and doing everything possible to get vaccinated, is a way out of this.
"So, we just encourage our fans and our people to take all steps possible."
A date we remember fondly and where we want to get back to as a club - at one with the Tiger Army packing the MCG.— Richmond FC ???? (@Richmond_FC) September 1, 2021
A first Vic target is set. For your safety and that of the wider community, please get vaccinated if you can. Consult your GP or medical practitioner for more info pic.twitter.com/9INLk5RFBT
While it was disappointing for the Club to miss out on this year's finals series, Gale said it would be an opportunity to reflect and regenerate.
"The cumulative impact of successive campaigns of high-pressure football deep into the year, coupled with less preparation the following year, less teaching of fundamentals, less development of youth, I think that has an impact," he said.
"I think we got to a point this year where we were a little bit off the pace but confident we would find our way back... (so) we hung on and really gritted it out, but we just weren't good enough.
"It's frustrating to be watching finals, but this is an opportunity we haven't had in a few years to really rest.
"We're really excited about the challenge ahead."