Tigers eye springboard into AFL next year

Embattled Richmond coach Damien Hardwick will continue to experiment with his AFL side undeterred by the increased pressure that more heavy defeats could bring.

The Tigers are already a club under siege following successive maulings by Hawthorn and Greater Western Sydney, but Hardwick is determined to approach the remaining four games of this campaign with one eye on next season.

“We are trialling some things, we’re trying some different styles of ball movement, we’ve spoken openly about how we’re looking to springboard into 2017,” Hardwick said.

“Offensively it’s not working at the moment with eight goals (in two games) but from our point of view we’re going to continue to trial things.

“Finals are out of the calculations so this is what this part of the season is there for us.

“It’s all about finding the next step for us.

“Don’t get me wrong, we still want to win. The players go out there trying their best every time, as a coaching group we do the same.”

After a week of harsh criticism he dismissed as “external noise”, Hardwick called for some perspective given his 13th-placed side’s last two opponents are currently first and second on the ladder.

The coach dismissed the chances of an agitating group of members pushing for change at board level given the club’s zero debt and burgeoning membership figures.

He called for stability at Punt Road and promised a swift return to finals contention.

“From a list management point of view, we’ve got really good players here that are elite players,” Hardwick said.

“We’ve got a lot of young players, I feel, that are going to come through that we haven’t seen the best of.

“It’ll be a quick bounce from my point of view. We haven’t had the year that we would like to have had, there’s no doubt about that, our fans are disappointed, we’re disappointed.

“We’ve got to get better.”

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