Hardwick challenges angry AFL Tigers

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has challenged his angry Tigers to attack Hawthorn head-on when the sides meet in Friday night’s blockbuster clash.

The rampaging Hawks have stormed back into outright premiership favouritism on the back of an eight-game winning streak and inflicted the heaviest loss in Carlton’s history on the Blues last week.

Richmond’s top-four aspirations took a hit when Fremantle pinched a thriller at the MCG but Hardwick said his players spent little time despairing over the result.

“The disappointment turned to anger but that anger has got to turn into performance,” Hardwick said on Thursday.

“The great thing about our group is they’re pretty resilient.

“You can sit there and be dictated to by what (Hawthorn) do and how they play … the fact of the matter is they’re playing some really good football but so are we.” The loss also cost the Tigers key talls Ben Griffiths (finger) and Shaun Hampson (ankle) for the match against the Hawks.

Griffiths is in danger of missing the rest of the season after undergoing surgery but Hampson is a chance to resume next week.

Fifth-placed Richmond have enjoyed reasonable success against the Hawks in recent times, having won two of their past three encounters, which Hardwick put down to his side’s dominance in contested possession.

“There’s a template there that we like but it’s easier said than done,” the coach said.

“It’s easy to have the answers but to get the equation is probably the difficult thing against a quality side like Hawthorn.”

The Tigers will wear their Dreamtime guernseys on Friday night in a show of support for Adam Goodes, who has taken a leave of absence from Sydney over the booing controversy.

Hardwick said the move to wear the guernsey celebrating indigenous culture came about from a conversation between the Tigers’ leadership group and indigenous midfielder Shane Edwards.

“The fact of the matter is that it’s bullying at best and racism at worst,” Hardwick said of the booing of Goodes.

“We just wanted to throw our support (behind Adam). It’s not something the AFL community wants to see … one of the greats of our game not playing because of this impact.

“Our players have made a stand and want to support Goodesy in this way.”

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