Consistency has been the key for Richmond this season according to Damien Hardwick and that theme looks set to continue at the selection table ahead of Sunday’s elimination final against North Melbourne.
In stark contrast to the Kangaroos, who controversially rested nine players in round 23 against the Tigers, Hardwick is banking on continuity when the two sides meet for the second time in just over a week.
Reece Conca is pressing his claims for a return after overcoming a hamstring injury but the coach admits he will find it difficult to make many, if any, changes to the side that defeated North.
“We’ll still consider (Conca), he’s been training fully now for two weeks but the equation we’ve got to take into it is that he hasn’t played footy for the vast majority of the year,” Hardwick said.
“But he’s an important player, he’s a quality player – do we take a risk. We’re unsure at this stage.
“We’ll see how he trains (on Tuesday) and Thursday and make an assessment.”
In something of a surprise, Hardwick revealed tall forward Ben Griffiths, who hasn’t played since undergoing finger surgery after round 17, could come into calculations if the Tigers progress beyond this week.
Richmond have stumbled at the elimination final stage of the past two seasons, having been bundled out by Carlton then Port Adelaide.
But Hardwick isn’t interested in a history lesson.
“We can keep going back into the record books but it’s a completely different side that we’re playing now as compared to 12 and 24 months ago,” he said.
“We’ve matured, we’re a lot better side, we’re a lot better placed, we’ve got a lot better players. You can’t compare us to 12 months ago – it’s irrelevant.
“Those finals are in the history books, there’s nothing you can do about them now, all we can build on is the consistency that we’ve put into the regular season.”