Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has revealed the Tigers are trying to play a more aggressive style of game to catch the AFL front-runners.
Ahead of their Sunday clash with St Kilda at Etihad, Hardwick says the club identified their physicality as an area for improvement this season.
Defending champions Hawthorn are one side that consistently plays the game on the edge.
Skipper Trent Cotchin has embraced the new philosophy, notably lifting his aggression.
“We’d prefer them playing that aggressive style of game,” Hardwick said on Thursday.
“You notice the best sides do do it, whether it’s from a physical harassment point of view or intimidation point of view and it’s something our boys have taken on board and grown with.”
Key forward Ty Vickery typifies the style that Hardwick wants; although he will miss the match with a two-game ban for rough conduct.
“We love the way Ty plays close to the line but unfortunately he’s going to step over it every now and again,” Hardwick said.
“We enjoy that he plays a physical, aggressive brand of footy and it’s when he plays his best.
“We take the risk that at stages he will go over that line … those sort of players, the closer they are the better we play.”
Despite their recent run of wins Hardwick is unhappy with his team’s form and says they will start losing if they don’t improve.
The Tigers are fifth on the ladder after winning seven of their last eight games but Hardwick is looking for a lift against the Saints.
“We think we’ve been playing poor; nowhere near to our standard,” Hardwick said.
“If we continue to play at the level that we are at the moment we’re going to get beaten.”
He made special mention of their offence, which he described as “sloppy” and said his son’s under-18 side could have done better with some of their recent chances.
“Our inside-50 kicking was as poor as it’s been for two to three years,” he said.
Richmond are planning to play two ruckmen at Etihad with Shaun Hampson holding his place in the side alongside Ivan Maric, who is back from suspension.
The game is a tribute match for the late sister of Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt and cousin of the Tigers’ Jack Riewoldt.
Nick is racing the clock to overcome a calf problem to play.