Richmond coach Damien Hardwick with Daniel Jackson during Richmond's Dreamtime disaster. Photo: Pat Scala
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has put his under-performing players on notice - "talk is cheap" - and he expects last week's tough talk to be turned into action this weekend.
Almost a week after delivering a withering spray to his team after its dismal 50-point loss to Essendon in round 11, Hardwick said it was time to step up and start putting wins on the board.
After calling the team "mediocre", Hardwick said the players had taken the rap well and that "from our point of view, talk's cheap, we've just got to make sure we deliver on the field. We haven't done that a lot this season."
The Tigers take on a resurgent North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, who are coming off their euphoric win against the West Coast on the weekend.
Hardwick said the focus would be on improving players' intensity and workrate, especially contested ball and tackles. He said getting an early jump on the ball would be crucial if his team was to have any chance of securing its fourth win for the year.
"When [the Kangaroos] get the game on their terms they are a very good side. They attack really hard [in their] back half but they play an exciting brand of footy ... we'll be defensively trying to impact the scoreboard ourselves," he said.
He wouldn't comment on which players could return from injury or what changes would be made but acknowledged the club held a heated game review on Monday.
While he played down the importance of the game, it will be crucial for the Tigers if they have any hopes of salvaging the rest of the season. Although a top-eight finish is an increasingly unlikely proposition, Hardwick has consistently spoken about the importance of bringing “respect” back to the club and its supporters.