Tigers must stick together: Deledio

Richmond vice-captain Brett Deledio says hard work is the only way his side can turn around their embarrassing start to the AFL season.

The Tigers suffered an upset 35-point loss to Port Adelaide on Saturday night, leaving them with one victory from the opening six rounds.

It is the club’s worst start to a campaign since 2010, coach Damien Hardwick’s first season in charge.

“There’s no point bitching and moaning about it. We’ve just got to get around each other and get ourselves out of it,” Deledio told reporters on Sunday,

“We’ve got the players here.

“We just have to get our confidence back and our skills up and not make so many basic errors.

“It only comes through hard work.”

Hardwick knows the challenge is immense, having watched his underperforming side fail to do the basics expected of amateurs.

But Hardwick remains upbeat his team can fight their way out of an early-season slump, as was the case in 2014 and 2015.

Hardwick called the performance embarrassing, dumb and devoid of dignity.

“We’re missing kicks, missing handballs, missing tackles … simple things that a local football side should be doing, we’re not doing,” he conceded.

But Hardwick added his under-siege side is capable of playing so much better and backed them to do that soon.

“It’s certainly doable. I’ve got great faith in the players we have and the coaches … that we can get back on track,” he said.

“But that first win is the most important.

“The reality is it comes back to me and our coaching staff. We’re the ones that have to drive the message across and make sure it does get across.”

The Tigers forced their way into the top eight during the past two seasons after sluggish starts.

The equation is already tougher but Hardwick wouldn’t be drawn on whether Friday night’s match against the Hawks could make or break Richmond’s ever-slimming finals hopes.

“I’ve been thinking each game is season defining at the moment. The competition is so even,” he said.

“We’ve just got to worry about getting the four points.”

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