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Damien Hardwick calls for faster ball-ups

Damien Hardwick shows his frustration during the Tigers' narrow loss to Sydney.

Damien Hardwick shows his frustration during the Tigers' narrow loss to Sydney. Photo: Pat Scala

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has called for faster ball-ups to make umpiring easier after his team's 11-point loss to Sydney in another congested game.

The Tigers lost to Sydney in a scrappy, low-scoring game marked by heavy congestion around the ball, prompting Hardwick to call for quick restarts.

"It was tough but they've just got to throw the ball up quicker. Just ball it up," he said. "I feel we bring upon the congestion ourselves. If we [throw] the ball up straight away after two or three players go to ground, sides will reset. What happens is we hold our whistle, players from both ends come in and then they throw it in."

Hardwick looked visibly displeased with some decisions during the game but was conciliatory afterwards, acknowledging they have a hard job to do. "There's a simple solution,'' he said. "It's very hard to umpire under the instructions they're given."

Richmond lost to the white-hot Sydney 9.8 (62) to 7.9 (51) at the MCG in front of crowd of 34,633 on Friday night.

Sydney coach John Longmire pointedly refused to comment on the umpiring, saying he wouldn't discuss something he "couldn't control".

Despite their loss, Hardwick was motivated with his team's efforts in a match that many expected would be a slaughter. "We did a lot of things right but the scoreboard is hurting us at the moment," he said. "I thought we stood up pretty well."

Richmond, lagging 15th on the ladder, looked set to cause an upset after they dominated the first quarter and managed to stay in front by a single point by the end of the third quarter. The Tigers went into Friday saying the fight for contested ball and the midfield would make or break their match against their top-four opposition.

They were right for the first half but melted away amid Sydney's growing intensity in the third quarter. It took until the second quarter for the Swans' multi-million dollar man, Lance Franklin, to find his form, kicking the first of his four goals for the match. Sydney kicked seven of the last eight goals.

Longmire admitted it wasn't his team's best performance but praised its ability to turn the match around following a lacklustre first quarter.

"Fortunately, we were able to turn that around and really strong efforts from our leaders and a few of our kids really got things going and I was rapt in the last quarter," he said. "We knew it was going to be a battle all night but we found a way, a good game to get through with a win."

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