Tigers must back up AFL win: Hardwick

Despite an after-the-siren win over Sydney to snap Richmond’s six-game losing streak, it hasn’t washed away the AFL club’s woes.

Coach Damien Hardwick was under immense pressure as the defeats stacked up before Sam Lloyd’s match-winner at the MCG.

Hardwick has made fewer headlines in the lead-up to Saturday’s clash with Fremantle in Perth.

But he knows there is no such thing as breathing space for the Tigers, who face a tough ask making the finals after a 2-6 start.

“It’s a huge pressure job … it’s a performance industry. It’s always on us,” Hardwick said.

“Expectations are high at our football club … we’ve been disappointing.

“We haven’t played anywhere near my, or our players’, level of expectation.

“And we expect better.”

Captain Trent Cotchin and Kane Lambert will return from injury against the winless Dockers.

But the Tigers’ 22 is far from settled, with emergencies Nathan Broad, Jacob Townsend and Oleg Markov all making the trip to Perth.

The weather bureau is forecasting winds of up to 40km/h, possible hail and up to 20mm of rain.

“Apparently, it’s eight-metre swells and 120-knot winds,” Hardwick joked.

“We’ll wait and see what the conditions play and we’ll make a few calls over there.”

Hardwick was confident the Tigers could fire in wet weather.

“We play reasonably well in the wet. We’re a good contested-ball side; our numbers say that,” he said.

“It’s going to be a tight contest – games against Fremantle always are.”

Hardwick admitted he was unsure who would be the side’s go-to rebounding defender with Bachar Houli (wrist) and Corey Ellis (soreness) both unavailable.

“We’ve still got a few selection decisions to make going into this game. They’ll probably be made on the plane going over,” he said.

Cotchin, after missing two rounds because of a fractured cheekbone, will wear a helmet in his comeback match.

“It’s great to have good players back … he was in great form before he went out so we look forward to that continuing,” Hardwick said.

Hardwick is wary of the Dockers, believing they’re a much better side than 0-8 suggests.

“They’re probably similar to us. Their record probably doesn’t quite reflect where they are as a football side,” he said.

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