Hardwick will stay AFL Tigers coach: Gale

Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale says besieged coach Damien Hardwick will remain at Punt Road next year despite admitting the Tigers are playing without belief.

Gale came out and publicly backed the under-fire coach following Saturday’s disastrous 88-point loss to Greater Western Sydney in Canberra in which Hardwick’s side managed just three goals.

“Damien has a contract, he’ll be the coach next year,” Gale told 3AW on Sunday.

“He’s been a strong coach for our football club and I think there’s some considerable learnings out of this year and I think he’ll be better for it.

“I don’t look at the game (against GWS) in isolation … it’s been a disappointing year.

“I really think probably from the opening bounce of round one we haven’t played well and that’s disappointing.”

Hardwick signed a two-year contract extension earlier this year that ties him to the club until the end of the 2018 season.

Richmond have bowed out at the elimination final stage of the past three seasons, their last finals win was back in 2001, and they sit 13th on the ladder with a 7-11 record after round 19.

Gale assured fans those at the club aren’t sitting on their hands and just accepting recent results, with all facets of performance at the club were being reviewed on an ongoing basis.

But he agreed that the listless performance against the Giants didn’t look great.

“Our guys look as though they’re playing without belief at the moment and I think they’ve looked like that for a while,” he said of the loss that followed a 70-point thumping at the hands of Hawthorn.

“They’ve played finals the last three years and that’s where they see themselves and I think when it reached a point when that was probably not going to happen they lost a bit of belief.”

Gale admitted the club has encountered “head winds” and “speed humps” as it has tried to improve its playing list during a period when expansion clubs GWS and Gold Coast have dominated the national draft.

But he dismissed the notion that the Tigers need to embark on a complete rebuild of their playing stocks.

“It’s an overused word, it’s very simplistic,” he replied when asked if a rebuild was required.

“List development is a continuum – there’s no start, there’s no end (and) there’s no complete rebuild, start again.

“I’m confident with where our list is at.”

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