The ‘Tiger Train’ has a full head of steam up once more after Richmond out-worked flag favourites Hawthorn on Friday night.
Damien Hardwick urged his players to harness the anger and frustration of last week’s gut-wrenching defeat to Fremantle and they did just that – stopping the rampaging Hawks in their tracks in the impressive 18-point win.
The lid might not be so much off at Punt Road as blown to bits on the back of the manic display of pressure football that forced uncharacteristic turnovers from seasoned premiership players like Luke Hodge and Josh Gibson.
After the match, Hardwick said that he wasn’t putting a ceiling on what his side could achieve this season before quickly turning his focus to next week’s opponent.
Pressed on the significance of the victory against a side many had considered unstoppable, the coach admitted it could be a key signpost on the road he started down with the Tigers back in 2010.
“Whether it was tonight’s win or last week’s loss, your games along the way will mould your side,” Hardwick said.
“It’s probably another win where we build on our story as a footy club.
“It’s been a reasonably long journey for our patient fans but we hope we can repay them at some stage.”
Perhaps the most pleasing thing for Hardwick was the fact that, aside from four goals to Brett Deledio and 30 touches by Anthony Miles, it was a very even performance by Richmond.
Jack Riewoldt and Alex Rance were solid contributors, but a stats sheet that had Riewoldt with one goal and Rance with six marks at the end of a game in recent times probably wouldn’t have seen the Tigers take the points too often.
Hardwick was delighted for Bachar Houli, who committed a costly last-minute turnover against the Dockers but kicked a vital late goal against the Hawks.
The coach said in the emotional aftermath of the loss to Fremantle that it could make or break his team and, on the evidence of Friday night, Richmond’s graph in 2015 is trending up, not down.
“The guys were quite angry with the loss and the pleasing thing from my point of view is that they turned that disappointment and anger into a really credible performance,” he said.
“The way they went about the contest tonight, they hunted the opposition, I thought it was as good as I’ve seen it.”