Tigers coach Damien Hardwick. Photo: Getty Images
RICHMOND chief executive Brendon Gale refused to shed any further light on Damien Hardwick's future last night, insisting the club would not be reacting to outside pressure to re-sign the coach.
And Mick Malthouse put the Tigers in the spotlight, declaring Hardwick's team should play finals in 2012 and would be expected to win at least 11½ games.
Both Gale and Malthouse were speaking on 3AW but neither would entertain speculation as to whether Richmond would look at luring Malthouse out of retirement should Hardwick not remain at the club.
Responding to Alastair Clarkson's warning that stalling on Hardwick's contract could destabilise the Tigers, Gale said: ''They're good, loyal comments.
''You'd expect him [Clarkson] to make those comments. But we'll organise that and confirm that when we're good and ready.
''We certainly won't be responding to outside agendas.''
Clarkson said on Fox Footy on Monday night that Richmond should ''just make the appointment'' and re-sign Hardwick. Malthouse last night questioned the Hawthorn coach's method of publicly pushing up for his former colleague.
''I'm a coaches' person,'' said Malthouse. ''Al Clarkson is a coaches' person … He's only gone in to bat for another coach but it's the way you put it.''
When asked whether the Tigers would investigate Malthouse's availability should the Hardwick deal fail to eventuate, the former Richmond premiership player responded: ''I don't know about that … If Richmond don't look like making the eight again … I think they've gotta push for the eight.''
In terms of home-and-away wins and losses, Malthouse said a pass mark for the Tigers would be to achieve more than 11 wins in 2012.
Ponting out that Jack Riewoldt should be over his injury concerns and other developmental issues Malthouse added: ''Dustin Martin's a year older and [Trent] Cotchin's a year older.''
Richmond is currently negotiating with Hardwick's management to extend his contract although it is not certain whether the coach will receive a one or two-year extension.
Admitting he was sticking up for Hardwick who was a close friend, Clarkson said two nights ago that his own uncertain contractual situation proved a distraction for Hawthorn last season.
He said: ''They'll be crazy if they don't reappoint him and reappoint him soon.
''For the first time I feel Richmond have got some stability in their club. Just make the appointment.''