Hardwick lashes insipid Tigers

A fuming Damien Hardwick has labelled Richmond’s effort insipid and questioned the toughness of his players after the Tigers were out-muscled by Melbourne in the wet.

Hardwick’s men matched it with the Demons in dry conditions in the first half at the MCG on Friday, but were disappointing when the opposition rolled their sleeves up and went to work as the rain poured down in the second.

“You know what the wet finds out? It finds out a lot about your playing group,” Hardwick said after the 12.11 (83) to 6.15 (51) defeat.

“A performance like that indicates we’re not tough enough. We’re better than that bloody performance.

“We just looked impotent after halftime.”

The Tigers were found wanting in and around the packs in an effort Hardwick said was as poor as he’d seen in a long time.

“Contested ball is normally a foundation block of our footy club … (but) tonight we didn’t come to play,” he said.

“We weren’t tough enough, the opposition out-hunted us and out-muscled us. “We played insipid footy – plain and simple.”

Richmond entered the season looking to build on their last two campaigns, where they’ve bowed out in the first week of the finals, but now find themselves with a 2-2 win-loss record, with those losses coming against bottom-five sides from last year.

While clearly disappointed with the start, Hardwick maintained the Tigers are still capable of big things this season.

“If we play our best footy we’ll beat anyone,” he said.

“”We’ve got the talent there, it’s about harnessing that talent to perform at a consistent level all the time.

“Our best is well and truly good enough. Unfortunately the inconsistency of our performance thus far this year is not getting it done.”

Nathan Drummond was stretchered from the field with a knee injury in the second quarter of his first AFL match.

Hardwick was unable to confirm whether he had suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament tear, but said that it didn’t look good.

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