Hardwick wants more mongrel

Sportal August 2, 2012, 12:53 pm
Brett Deledio

Getty Images © Enlarge photo

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has challenged his young stars to take the next step and develop a ruthless streak on the field that gets his side over the line in tight matches.

The Tigers have lost their last three games by less than a kick, with the side's failure to win close matches now a huge concern for Hardwick and the club.

Renowned AFL analyst David King said young guns Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio needed to step up in those tight situations and Hardwick agreed with the former Richmond assistant coach.

"That's something as a footy club we have got to get better at," Hardwick said when asked about the club's failure to win tight matches.

"There are certainly patches in games where we can get better in certain situations.

"We have got to think our way through those situations better and that way we will get a better result.

"That is what a good footy side becomes.

"It is all about developing expectations and developing experience to take you to the next level.

"And that is where we need to get to."

While Hardwick has not completely given up on playing finals this season, the coach admitted that his side would need a lot of luck to feature in September.

Richmond would need to win all of their remaining games and rely on other results to go their way to feature in their first finals series since 2001 and Hardwick said the club would take a different approach to their remaining five matches.

Hardwick said some of the club's younger players would be given opportunities and nominated Ben Griffiths and Bradley Helbig as those most likely to feature in the remaining rounds.

"Mathematically it is still possible (to play finals), but I think now it is about playing for the jumper," he said.

"We have got some players coming back into selection this week, so we are starting to get some players back which is a good thing."

Richmond will try and keep their season alive when they take on 13th-placed Brisbane on Saturday night and Hardwick is looking forward to the test.

A victory would see the Tigers keep their slim finals hopes alive, while a loss would see the Lions jump above them on the ladder and into 12th position.

"Brisbane are a side we have got enormous respect for ... they play really well at the Gabba and they have some really good players in form," he said.

"So it is going to be a good test for our boys."

COMPARE & SAVE