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Tigers' season starts now, says Hardwick


Michael Gleeson

Jack Riewoldt wears the look of defeat.

Jack Riewoldt wears the look of defeat. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

THE weekly sense of deja vu - playing well and losing - has left Richmond with only one win from five attempts and prompted coach Damien Hardwick to declare the season starts now for his side.

The Tigers again were forced to swallow the bitter pill of the close, but gallant, loss after falling short to undefeated West Coast by 10 points yesterday, the same margin by which they lost to Geelong last week.

Having endured a taxing opening to the year playing four more-highly credentialed sides - Carlton, Collingwood, Geelong and West Coast - and having fallen short in all four, Hardwick said the time to start making ground on the opposition started now.

Eagle's Matt Priddis tackled by Richmond's Nathan Foley at Etihad. Click for more photos

AFL Round 5 - Richmond v West Coast

Another nail biter in Round 5 with the West Coast Eagles beating Richmond by ten points with a final score of 107 to 97. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

''Once again we are close but we are not quite there,'' he said.

''It's been a step forward no doubt. They are a bloody good side West Coast; they are undefeated and a chance to win the whole thing.

''Geelong no different from last week also.

''So it is a step forward we just have to manufacture the result to get the four points.

''We are one-four, which is not where we want to be. We could possibly have been two-three, three-two, whichever way but the reality is we are one-four,'' Hardwick said.

''Our percentage is still intact so our season really starts now, we have to start gaining some ground on the opposition.

''It was always going to be a tough start - we knew that, we probably won the game that everyone pencilled in for us to win."

Richmond's road ahead is not much easier with games against Port Adelaide - which it should win - followed by Sydney, still undefeated, then Essendon and Hawthorn.

''I think this group has come a long way now, where we come into games expecting to win,'' Hardwick said.

''No longer is it 'jeez, we hope to get close'. We expect to win week-in week-out.''

''We are still a very, very young football club, we are a similar age to Melbourne.

''We are making inroads, we just have to get there quicker. We are going to get there but it is going to take a few more frustrating losses like that.''

Richmond was partly the agent of its own misfortune in the last quarter when Robin Nahas gave away a free kick for abusive language and, moments later, Jack Riewoldt attempted a short pass - and turned over the ball - when he could have taken a shot at goal. The ball went straight to the other end where Josh Hill won a free kick in the goal square and restored the Eagles' lead for the final time.

''The Robbie Nahas one was disappointing but to be perfectly honest it is a man's game isn't it. Fair dinkum. I will leave that there," Hardwick said of the period of play. Several players went down behind play, including Riewoldt, who came from the ground vomiting after a clash with Will Schofield in the middle of the ground.

Down-the-ground footage of the incident will be analysed with the suspicion that Schofield struck Riewoldt.

Hardwick, who complained last week that Cotchin was being bear-hugged, smiled when asked about the high number of head-high free kicks for players ducking into tackles in yesterday's game.

''I thought the umpires handled it better today,'' the coach said.

''The umpires are aware of it, there are some techniques there no doubt but the rules are there for us coaches to try and exploit … I still think the umpires are handling that better, we saw that on the Anzac Day clash that guys that lead with the head don't get the free kicks they probably did last week."

West Coast coach John Worsfold admitted his side's leadership around the ball from players such as Matthew Priddis and Daniel Kerr in the last quarter was crucial to the Eagles recovering their lead and holding on to win.

18 comments so far

  • Loved the game. First quarter was simply ferocious, Tigers hit the Eagles with everything except the kitchen sink, but the boys from the West sucked it up and gave a bit out too.

    Tigers are much better than their record (1-4?) suggest.. they have played a few of the top sides already. They will be in the mix come September.

    Having said that, there's a couple of prima donnas in that side. Contrast their celebrations after scoring a goal to the Eagles.. when the Tigers kick a goal, they celebrate like it was a sudden death overtime goal in soccer, ergo, they all go nuts... for the Eagles, its just business as usual.

    While the Tigers where giving each other high 5's Eagles would get the head over the footy, take posession, score, go ahead again.

    Great win on the road for WCE, on any other day Tigers would have won that game.. like the way the Eagles managed to win with a couple of guys injured against a very committed opponent.

    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 9:09AM
    • There are problems at Tigerland. Ben Gale comes out and says that Jake King personifies the club and he admires him. The coach comes out and says the season starts in round six. When will they ever learn. They really do need to go after Malthouse

      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 5:03PM
  • Richmond 1-4, Adelaide 4-1 and I think Richmond are in better from, but have a look at the draw! Adelaide has played one top 5 and 4 easy beats, Richmond have played 4 top 5 and 1 easy beat. Not fair AFL, not fair at all. When I say top 5 I refer to quality, not where they sit now as a result of this lopsided draw

    Date and time
    April 30, 2012, 9:32AM
    • Easier games? Syd, Ess and Haw? Richmond wont win any of those either! And who says they are going to beat Port? Doubt that too.

      Date and time
      April 30, 2012, 10:24AM
      • Out of curiosity, why was the roof at Etihad closed for this one? I turned on the start of the game to see Bruce McAvaney say that it was a "grey day outside" so the roof had been closed. I live across the road from Ethihad - the sun was out, there were a few small clouds (hardly an impending storm on the horizon) and it still hadn't rained by late last night, so I don't know where the "grey day" was (that was also mentioned by another commentator).

        I thought AFL was a winter game? Why are they so afraid of some rain or cold - neither of which were around yesterday?

        West North West
        Date and time
        April 30, 2012, 10:26AM
        • Finally Tigers to be wary of.

          The Bush
          Date and time
          April 30, 2012, 11:05AM
          • Has Hardwick already said whether he prefers a buffet or a la carte dinner for his going away evening.....

            Date and time
            April 30, 2012, 11:46AM
            • Yea, I think I heard "HE HAS THE FULL SUPPORT OF THE BOARD"

              we all know what it means.

              Date and time
              April 30, 2012, 1:02PM
          • I'm used to the Tiges losing so not greatly disappointed. At least there is one change from previous years - "we" are not getting blown away and our one win was a big winning margin. Too often in previous years the Tiges would get thrashed and have fairly narrow wins when there should have been bigger winning margins. Finishing 9th (ha ha) was often the result of those margins.
            Things are looking brighter. JUST NEED TO GET SOME WINS.

            Date and time
            April 30, 2012, 11:49AM
            • Yeah, starts & ends.

              Date and time
              April 30, 2012, 1:01PM

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