Hardwick loving Tigers’ AFL aggression

Renowned for a mean streak in his days as an AFL defender, coach Damien Hardwick loves that Richmond have been tagged bully boys.

And his Crows counterpart Scott Camporeale says the Crows will be ready for more of the same in Friday night’s crucial match at Adelaide Oval.

The Tigers are a game behind fourth spot, but also only a game-and-a-half ahead of eighth on the ladder.

Adelaide dropped out of the top eight last week and must engineer an upset win to stay in the finals hunt.

“If you ask 17 other coaches, we’re all thinking the same thing – the part of the game we all love is physicality,” Hardwick said.

“Most sides will be having the same conversation before running out onto the ground – hard-tough, Richmond-style footy.

“Our players expect no less, the same as Adelaide this week.

“It’s one of the important factors of all premiership sides – you look at Hawthorn; obviously over the last couple of years, Brisbane – they were all based on physicality and intimidation.”

Camporeale said training this week had focused on the physical pressure they expected from Richmond.

“If you’ve watched their games the last three weeks against quality opposition, that’s what they’ve brought,” Camporeale said.

“That’s a model that’s obviously worked for them against top-four sides, so I’d be staggered if they come with any different attitude.

“You have to embrace it – it’s part of AFL footy. If you think an opposition team’s not going to come with that sort of pressure or heat on a Friday night, I’d be mystified.”

Hardwick said the Tigers would focus on two parts of Adelaide’s game – their speed of ball movement and strong contested work.

He added Richmond would have to play a different way to last Friday night’s upset win over premiership favourites Hawthorn.

“It’s going to be a different challenge to the Hawthorn game – not so much a maintain-possession game,” Hardwick said.

“The philosophy will remain the same, but we will try to slow them down as much as we can.

“They do play an incredibly breakneck speed of footy.

“But the biggest one for us is their contested balls on the back of clearance dominance.”

Richmond have not kicked 15 goals in a game since round 10 and Hardwick says they want to be more productive in attack.

“Offensively, we feel we have some areas of improvement,” he said.

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