Geelong coach Chris Scott feels it would be wrong to judge Richmond and Brisbane on the final month of the AFL season.
The Tigers and Lions - and by extension their respective coaches Damien Hardwick and Justin Leppitsch - are both under fire following poor losses in round 20.
Scott expressed empathy for both Hardwick and Leppitsch, suggesting both sides had little to play for in the final four rounds.
"Really this year doesn't mean that much to them (now). There's not much they can achieve but they can stunt their growth for subsequent seasons," Scott told Fox Footy.
"It just seems to me at this stage of the year, I draw the analogy of the grand final team who knows they can't win halfway through the last quarter.
"That is a really demoralising place to be and it's hard to play your best at that point of time.
"I don't think we should be judging Richmond, or Brisbane for that matter, on what they're giving right at the moment."
The Tigers are reeling from arguably their most inept performance under Hardwick, an embarrassing 88-point loss to Greater Western Sydney in which they kicked only three goals.
Richmond icon Kevin Bartlett lamented his side's "pathetic" effort against Greater Western Sydney, while Matthew Richardson called for a review of his old club's football department.
"In the moment it feels like a disaster," Scott said.
"When you've got the benefit of taking a couple of steps back, I think you get a bit better perspective.
"Richmond have made the finals in the last three years, I'm not sure they're the basket case that they're being presented as.
"I understand really poor performances are going to add scrutiny but it seems to me like they (Richmond) are playing the long game at the moment."