Hardwick out to improve Tigers’ MCG record

After making a habit of conquering on the road this season, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has his players’ minds fixed on an issue closer to home.

Winning a few games at the MCG.

The Tigers have collected the scalps of Port Adelaide, Fremantle and Sydney on their past three trips interstate and surged into top four contention.

But their MCG form has let them down, with a 3-4 record there including some forgettable performances.

Hardwick fumed after hearing the club songs of Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and Geelong ring out earlier in the year.

His side’s last effort at the home of football was a more respectable 20-point loss to high-flying West Coast but against GWS on Saturday, Hardwick hopes to actually take the money.

“We have been a little bit disappointing this year at home,” he said.

“Our progression of form has improved. West Coast were just too good for us on that night.

“We get an opportunity to rectify that this week against a young hungry side full of talent.”

It’s certainly not panic stations for the Tigers.

Hardwick was quick to point out that if their last 22 games constituted a season, they would be sitting pretty at 16-6.

Against the Giants, the Tigers can jump another rung to fifth place with a victory Hardwick said would be earned with their midfield effort.

“The game is going to be won or lost in the middle, the contested ball game is going to be crucial,” he said.

“If they get the game on their terms, they’ll beat us.

In light of Gold Coast’s drug woes, the Tigers boss has backed AFL senior management to review and change the AFL’s illicit drugs policy.

Hardwick said he was “disappointed” to see photos of Gold Coast player Harley Bennell on the front page of News Cop papers, saying the Suns and the AFL are only dealing with the issue like any group or family in society.

Hardwick suggested it was inappropriate to put the compromising photo on the front page.

“I feel for the player on the front of the paper, I don’t think it’s something we should be putting there,” he said.

“(Illicit drugs are) a community issue overall and from a footy perspective we’re no different.

“As a father of three, it’s an issue, no doubt about that.”

Hardwick agreed with AFL supremo Gillon McLachlan that the “three strikes” policy, set for a revamp at the end of the season, needed change.

“A policy put in place 10 years ago, like anything you put in 10 years ago, we outgrow that,” he said.

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