Tigers primed for 2020 AFL flag challenge

Anna Harrington
Coach Damien Hardwick believes Richmond's stability gives them an edge in the disrupted AFL season

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick believes the Tigers are in a good position to capitalise on the difficulties of the 2020 season and push for their third AFL premiership in four years.

This year's season is like no other - reduced to 17 games plus finals, likely all without crowds - but Hardwick said those conditions presented an "opportunity" for his side, who could become the first Tigers outfit to go back-to-back since 1974.

"I know a lot of people have probably jumped up in arms a little bit with regard to 'it's going to be an unfair playing field and it's going to be a little bit different' but this will be one of the greatest premierships ever won in AFL," Hardwick said.

"The circumstances we're in presents an enormous opportunity for the club and our players are very much looking forward to it - as are our coaching staff and our fans."

On Monday all AFL players were permitted to train at their clubs in groups of eight before of a return to full training on May 25.

Hardwick said the Tigers had put a lot of work into mentally preparing their players for the season restart, as well as their physical conditioning.

Rather than the difficult circumstances bringing Richmond back to the pack, Hardwick was confident the Tigers' well-established playing style and stable squad put them at an advantage.

"We've embedded a game plan that we've been very fortunate to have had three seasons of playing - it will always evolve but our playing list is relatively stable as well," he said.

"We've brought in some young talent but predominantly, the 18 to 22 players that are going to form the basis of our side are on the track and training together right now, so I think it will hold us in good stead.

"There's going to be some challenges, there's no doubt about that... But we're very confident that we'll be able to put on a good product come round two and the season thereafter."

Hardwick said Bachar Houli was the only Richmond player on a limited rehab program, with the dual-premiership defender pulling up sore after his most recent training session.