Richmond coach gives up on AFL finals

Coach Damien Hardwick has written off Richmond’s AFL finals chances.

“Finals, for mine, we’re not good enough to play in,” Hardwick said after the Tigers slipped to a 38-point away loss to Port Adelaide on Friday night.

Richmond are now three games shy of the top eight and Hardwick said he would blood younger players for the remainder of the season.

“We will just continue to keep trying to find the next level of players,” he said.

“We will continue to try and win as many games as we can whilst trying to develop a playing list that can take us forward.

“Because as we saw tonight, we’re off the pace. That is the reality of it.

“So we need to find players that continue to take us forward and get us back to where we need to be.”

Hardwick wouldn’t be drawn on what type of players he needed for Richmond to return to finals contention.

“That is a list management decision that we will work our way through. It’s probably not for public consumption,” he said.

“We have blooded a lot of young players this year, we’ll continue to do so, but we have also got to make sure they’re ready to play AFL footy.

“We are finding out about some players at the moment. We’re trying a couple of guys in different positions, we have found out some things.

“But we do look forward to some guys getting an opportunity – we have had a couple of young players been injured but they’re coming back in the next two to three weeks so they will get an opportunity to put their hand up provided they are playing well enough at VFL level.”

Hardwick maintained Richmond’s best was good enough to match it with the competition’s powerhouses – but lamented that his side can’t produce consistently.

“We have learnt that our best, when we play it, is good enough,” he said.

“Unfortunately at the moment it’s not anywhere near consistent enough.

“We get beaten in periods of the game where we lose too many one-on-one contests both up forward and down back, so we need to continue to develop and find players that can win those contests.”

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