Hardwick Backs Beaten Tigers To Rebound
Richmond were left somewhat traumatised by Sunday's 47-point loss to West Coast in Perth, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, according to Tigers coach Damien Hardwick.
West Coast extended their winning run to eight matches and moved one game clear on top of the table with the 20.10 (130) to 12.11 (83) win.
Richmond were made to look second rate for all bar the second quarter, with the team unable to handle West Coast's ferocious tackling.
Even Dustin Martin's famed fend-offs were of no use, with the Brownlow medallist caught holding the ball twice in the third quarter.
Hardwick reckons West Coast are now the team to beat for this year's premiership.
But he's not putting up the white flag by any means. Instead, he hopes his team will use Sunday's loss as a springboard for their premiership defence.
"You can look at it one of two ways - post traumatic stress or post traumatic growth," Hardwick said.
"We had some areas that we got shown up in today that we'll get to work on and that's an exciting thing for us.
"We got some good looks at some things they (West Coast) do; we'll learn from what they do. We'll get better as a result."
Richmond don't lock horns with West Coast again during the home-and-away season.
But the odds are high the two heavyweights will meet at some point during the finals.
If that occurs, Hardwick will need to reassess his ruck strategy.
Richmond won last year's flag using only one specialist ruckman - Toby Nankervis - with back-up from a pinch-hitting midfielder.
That tactic backfired against the Eagles, whose ruck duo of Nic Naitanui and Scott Lycett tore Shaun Grigg to shreds whenever Nankervis was resting.
"If we have a player going well enough we'll have a look at it," Hardwick said of bringing in a second specialist ruckman.
"Ivan Soldo has been in really good form. But by bringing Soldo in, do we rob ourselves of the strength of having Nankervis around the ground?
"So they are the constant (questions) we have to ask ourselves."
Richmond dropped 16 percentage points in the loss to West Coast, but have the chance to regain their mojo in Saturday's clash with struggling St Kilda.
The Saints haven't tasted victory since round one, and face a fight to avoid the wooden spoon.