Richmond's midfield aces are about to return from injury, but coach Damien Hardwick says his team can't rely on that to turn its season around.
The Tigers are now clinging to eighth place with a 5-5 record following their 28-point loss to Brisbane on Friday night.
However, the cavalry is on the way, with Hardwick confirming captain Trent Cotchin (hamstring) and Dion Prestia (calf) are all-but certain to return against Adelaide next week.
Shai Bolton (wrist) is "highly probable" and Shane Edwards – like the other three – will have to get through training on Saturday to be considered.
The Tigers need their A-grade midfield back after Brisbane pummelled them 51-25 at clearances.
Hardwick said his team could not assume it would reverse its fortunes like it had done in previous years.
"We can't just rely on it to happen," he said.
"It's happened a couple of times before, but the fact of the matter is each year is different.
"We've got to play better.
"We've got to get our troops back on the park and we've got to start a run and that run hopefully starts next week.
"We've got to start playing a better brand of footy, we have to get our guys to connect because players have been in and out consistently throughout the year.
"It's going to take some time for us to be playing our best footy, so we've got to get started, absolutely."
Hardwick said Richmond fought well against one of the "form sides of the competition" but the weight of numbers was just too much.
"We expect to play better though," he said.
"There was some players and some system that we would like to get better in that situation, so we were disappointed."