Damien Hardwick lauds Tigers' AFL milestone men

·2-min read
Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

If it was Damien Hardwick's biggest blunder of the week, then he's having a decent run.

But the Richmond coach admits he erred in playing Shai Bolton's extensive highlights reel for his players before showing them the far less flashy Nick Vlastuin tape.

The video session is a mid-week ritual at Punt Rd before milestone matches.

Bolton (100 games) and Vlastuin (200) are set to reach significant marks in the Tigers' clash with Essendon on Saturday night.

"I made the unfortunate mistake of showing Shai Bolton's highlights first and then going into Nick Vlastuin," Hardwick said with a smile.

"That's unfair on Nick. He's a wonderful player and both have just been incredible for our footy club."

Indigenous sensation Bolton, a Noongar man from Western Australia, aptly reaches triple figures in Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round.

The silky skilled 24-year-old will again be a central figure in the annual "Dreamtime at the 'G" feature match.

"What he's become on and off the field is an incredible tribute to him and the hard work of him and his family and also this football club," Hardwick said of the two-time premiership star.

"We're incredibly proud and there's no greater honour for him than playing in Sir Doug Nicholls round in the marquee game that we have.

"I'm sure he'll play well and more importantly play a great game that will allow us to get the result that we're after."

Vlastuin's value to the Tigers is not measured through highlights like high marks, flashy goals and mazy runs.

Instead, the humble and tough triple-premiership defender embodies one of the mantras held in highest regard at Richmond.

"What we love about Nick is how he plays," Hardwick said.

"He's 'simple brilliance' to a tee and every coach and every team would be hoping they have a Nick Vlastuin or Shai Bolton in their side every week."