Tigers seek to overcome AFL mental hurdles

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Mounting cases of "Richmond killing Richmond" have prompted Damien Hardwick to reconsider his players' mental preparation ahead of the AFL crunch clash with Fremantle.

The Tigers enter Friday night's contest at Marvel Stadium having suffered three narrow defeats in their last four matches, by a combined margin of just nine points.

Missed opportunities in front of goal proved particularly costly in the after-the-siren loss to Gold Coast and last week's shock upset at the hands of North Melbourne.

The adverse results have left Richmond clinging to eighth spot with five rounds remaining.

"Execution in front of the big sticks is something that's deserted us," Tigers coach Hardwick told reporters this week.

"Some of that's technique and the ability to find a target but most of the time it's just the pressure of the scoreboard.

"We spoke to the players about that, the anxiety that the scoreboard can create if you let it.

"The mental preparation that we're doing has to be a little bit better in that space and we spoke about that at length.

"We're doing a fair majority right but we've got some areas of our game that certainly have to get better for us to challenge."

Richmond will again be without star duo Dustin Martin and Tom Lynch because of hamstring injuries, with the pair considered chances to return against Brisbane in round 20.

The Tigers welcome back premiership ruckman Ivan Soldo (broken thumb), while Fremantle were dealt a huge blow when forward Rory Lobb was ruled out after failing to recover from last week's shoulder injury.

Lobb's injury, plus the return of Alex Pearce from a calf niggle, means swingman Griffin Logue is set to play as a forward just a week after holding Lance Franklin to one goal.

The Dockers also recalled speedster Liam Henry in place of Travis Colyer.

Fremantle pose another significant challenge in the Tigers' finals quest.

The Dockers dropped a home game against Sydney last week but remain in fourth spot, having taken significant strides forward in Justin Longmuir's third year at the helm.

But whether they are genuine flag contenders remains to be seen.

Fremantle face huge tests of their credentials in back-to-back games under Friday night lights over the next two rounds - against Richmond and reigning premiers Melbourne.

"Their profile is what a premiership team looks like," Hardwick said.

"They'll give you opportunities inside 50 but they'll defend those opportunities really well.

"We've spoken about what that looks like for us and the way they control the ball."

Hardwick lauded Fremantle's "dynamic" midfield, led by Brownlow Medal fancy Andrew Brayshaw, who is enjoying a career-best season, and is equally wary of dual Brownlow winner Nat Fyfe.

The Dockers captain is still adjusting to a new role, playing predominantly in attack since returning from a long injury lay-off last month.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting