Show Geelong's Stewart respect: Tigers coach Hardwick

·3-min read

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has urged supporters to respect Tom Stewart, saying the Tigers hold no grudges against the champion Geelong defender.

Geelong and Richmond face-off for the first time since Stewart was banned for a month after knocking out star Tigers midfielder Dion Prestia with a high bump in round 15 last year.

Stewart this week said he was expecting "a lot of noise" at the MCG when the Cats and Tigers clash on Friday night.

But Prestia, who will play his 200th AFL game in round nine, said in an interview on Wednesday he would prefer the Tigers supporters not to boo Stewart.

Fan behaviour has been thrust into the spotlight this week after Lance Franklin was bizarrely jeered by Collingwood supporters every time he touched the ball last Sunday, leading to the Magpies, Swans and AFL issuing apologies to the Sydney legend.

Hardwick said Richmond would not be using last year's incident as motivation for the match.

"Fans are fans, 80 per cent of the people would cheer and be excited," he said at Punt Rd on Thursday.

"Tom Stewart is an incredible player, so all I'll say is give him the respect he deserves.

"From our point of view what happened in the past is in the past and we move on.

"We're happy to just give them a fierce contest and hopefully walk away with a win.

"The game is combative in nature, we understand that accidents will happen like it did last year but we don't hold any grudges. We just get on with it and play the game."

Richmond have announced a one-year contract extension for co-captain Dylan Grimes.

"He's been one of the great Richmond success stories to come from a rookie pick (in 2010) through to an All-Australian, a three-time premiership player and a long-time servant of this footy club so I couldn't be prouder of him," Hardwick said of Grimes.

The 31-year-old will be given the difficult job of playing on either one of Geelong's star forwards Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins.

"Jeremy's obviously on track to kick a ton, which hasn't been done for a long while," Hardwick said.

"Tom was probably a little like a couple of our key forwards at the start of the year, struggled, but has certainly come into his own and seems to get better like a bottle of fine wine, gets better with age.

"We're certainly going to have our hands full, but if we're expecting one person to take care of those jobs, we're kidding ourselves."

Former captain Trent Cotchin will come back into the squad after resting against West Coast last week.

The Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Eagles, while the Cats enter the match after winning five-straight.

Geelong will unveil young midfielder Jhye Clark, who was taken at pick eight in last year's draft, for his AFL debut.