Tigers focus on fired-up finish

Sportal August 31, 2012, 1:27 pm
Jack Riewoldt

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Richmond coach Damien Hardwick is keen for his side to finish the season strongly against Port Adelaide on Sunday, although the coach still regards the 2012 campaign as a disappointing one.

The Tigers - who have won 10 matches this season cannot make the top eight and have not featured in the finals since 2001.

With only pride to play for, Hardwick was adamant his side would not be complacent against the lowly Power.

And, he added that his players would not get distracted by trying to help out full-forward Jack Riewoldt, who is only one goal behind Fremantle's Matthew Pavlich in the Coleman Medal race.

"We are just more interested in finishing off the season on a good note and getting the four points," Hardwick told reporters on Friday.

"Port Adelaide are a side that throughout the year have played some really, really damaging patches of footy but probably consistently haven't done it over the four quarters but they are certainly capable of doing that on their day.

"We'll be making sure that we just do everything right and play the game on our terms."

Richmond have lost six games by under 12 points in 2012 a year in which Hardwick believes his team has underachieved.

"When you don't make finals, we see it as a failure," he said.

"To lose the amount of games we did by a close margin indicates we are not doing things consistently enough over a period of time and we need to get better.

"This year we had an opportunity (to make finals) and that opportunity, we let slip."

In-form Tigers midfielder Trent Cotchin has an unassailable lead in the AFL Coaches' Association award, with Collingwood's Dayne Beams only able to tie, and Hardwick said this was an indication of his 2012 Brownlow chances.

"The good guide for that is the coaches' association award, I personally think it's the best award going round.

"It's certainly one that we rate really highly. He is (Cotchin) a special player, there's no doubt about that. The great thing about it is his age of 22, which is quite scary going forward."

Hardwick also felt sympathetic toward sacked Carlton coach Brett Ratten.

"It is a tough gig, no doubt about that," he said.

"Brett's an outstanding man, I admired him a great deal as a player and certainly as coach and look it's always sad to see a good soldier go down but we certainly know that's part and parcel of the gig that we are in."

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