Richmond coach Damien Hardwick believes Saturday night’s heartbreaking loss to Fremantle could be the defining moment of the Tigers’ season.
Hardwick’s men led for most of the epic encounter, but were left to rue missed opportunities when David Mundy goaled to seal a stunning Dockers’ win that could have serious implications for the Tigers’ top-four hopes.
Richmond would have drawn level with fourth-placed Sydney if they had held on to beat Fremantle for the second time this season, but instead face a huge battle to hang onto fifth spot when they meet a rampaging Hawthorn next Friday night.
“It can work one of two ways – it can either break us or it can make us,” Hardwick said after the four-point defeat.
“I know this group – they’re resilient. They’ll cop their fair whack.
“We lost a game we should have won but we get an opportunity … next Friday night in playing as good a footy as I’ve seen.
“You want a way to redeem yourself? That’s the way you go about it.”
The Tigers led by two goals in the final term but continued to shoot themselves in the foot with their inaccuracy in front of goal that saw them hit the post six times.
Even so, they looked set to hang on for the win before a horror Bachar Houli turnover set up Mundy’s match winner with 31 seconds left on the clock.
Houli’s long kick-in after a point was easily marked by Garrick Ibbotson who found Mundy just inside 50.
The defender was inconsolable after the match, but Hardwick said his was just one of many mistakes that proved costly.
“We had our chances to win the game and we didn’t take them … it’s easy to focus on the last mistake of the day, but our game was littered with mistakes,” he said.
“We had more than ample opportunity to win the game and we didn’t.
“He’s a proud man and he’s disappointed … he’ll battle on.
“He’ll be ok.”