Trent Cotchin
Trent Cotchin

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick insisted he is in no rush to take the captaincy off Chris Newman and hand it to emerging superstar Trent Cotchin.

Cotchin, who is tipped to be the Tigers' next on-field leader, is enjoying his best season so far having averaged 27 touches a game and booted a career-high 21 goals.

And the 22-year-old is coming off arguably the best game of his 83-match career which saw him register 35 disposals (14 contested), seven clearances and three goals against the Western Bulldogs.

But while Hardwick envisaged a changing of the guard in the next year or two, the Tigers boss was still very happy with Newman as his lieutenant and was adamant the incumbent skipper would decide the timing of a captaincy handover.

"Chris Newman's been outstanding in that role," Hardwick said prior to training at Victoria Park on Thursday.

"Captains sort of know when their time's come to pass over the baton, so to speak, but that'll be something we work through over the course of the next 12 (to) 24 months, whenever that may be.

"At this stage he is (captain next year) ... there's no rush on the captaincy (change), no rush at all.

"Chris has done a fantastic job and as far as I'm concerned he's the captain until he tells me he's not."

The Tigers travel to Perth on Saturday to face Fremantle at Patersons Stadium in a match they must win to keep their extremely faint finals hopes alive.

And Hardwick agreed Richmond owed the Dockers one after Fremantle scored an upset 12-point win over the Tigers in Round 11 at a sodden MCG.

Richmond headed into that encounter with a full head of steam having won four of their previous five matches, including the prized scalps of Sydney and Hawthorn.

But the shock loss to Fremantle knocked the stuffing out of the Tigers as they proceeded to lose five of their next seven to once again be an unrealistic finals proposition.

"It was a tough solid game that game, it could have gone either way, I think a lot of the KPI indicators were very similar but they just got the better of us on the day," Hardwick said.

"We've certainly got out work cut out for us, we're looking forward to hopefully turning the tables this time."

Fremantle champion Matthew Pavlich kick-started his rich vein of form that day with a brilliant six-goal haul on Alex Rance in the wet.

And while Hardwick explained how hard it was going to be to stop the Dockers captain from cutting loose again, he intimated Rance would get another crack at stopping Pavlich.

"He's very hard to match up one on one, he's one of those guys that plays tall but he's not tall if you know what I mean," Hardwick said.

"He's got the capability of playing at ground level also, Alex is a really good match-up, he's done the job a couple of times before."

The Tigers will take on Fremantle without Brad Miller or Kelvin Moore who announced their retirements effective immediately on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Hardwick anticipated out-of-contract Collingwood forward Travis Cloke would stay at the Magpies beyond this season even though they announced Dayne Beams had re-signed with the club to become the latest in a series of key, and presumably big-money, signings.

And if Richmond didn't manage to lure Cloke to Punt Road, Hardwick said they wouldn't look at recruiting Kurt Tippett to fill a similar role despite rife speculation that he is destined to leave Adelaide at season's end.


More from 7Sport

Indigenous stars Lance Franklin and Shaun Burgoyne have both excelled in a thrilling AFL match at the SCG, where Hawthorn have beaten Sydney by six points.