Tigers coach laments miserable failure
Dubbing it a miserable failure, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says he’ll let emotions subside before making some tough calls.
Hardwick says Sunday’s 57-point AFL elimination final capitulation to Port Adelaide needs cool dissection, not emotional knee-jerk reactions.
“It was just one of those games unfortunately. And unfortunately it was one of the most important occasions for our footy club,” Hardwick said after Port made the Tigers road kill, winning 20.12 (132) to 11.9 (75) at Adelaide Oval.
Port kicked 7.1 to nothing in the opening 18 minutes as Richmond’s season ended without a whimper.
“You have just got to take the emotion out of it,” Hardwick said.
“We just couldn’t win critical contests and we turned over the ball too much in the first quarter.”
Hardwick said the Tigers “failed miserably” against a red-hot Port side now booked for an away semi-final against Fremantle next Saturday.
Port’s stunning assault – 12 of the initial 13 goals – was hailed by coach Ken Hinkley as the best footy he’s seen from his Power outfit.
“Yes. It was. It was brutal … it was an awesome display by a group of young men who were determined to stick together and play tough footy,” Hinkley said.
While Hinkley admired the “ferociousness” of Port, his counterpart Hardwick said trade and draft tables beckon for the Tigers.
“I know what we need,” Hardwick said, with the rider: “I’m not telling you.”
“It’s simplistic to look at one thing … but we’re short of where we need to be at the moment.
“You give yourself a chance to play finals. But then the reality is you get measured by your finals success … and it’s a long time before you get back there again.
“Our boys are bitterly disappointed with our performance in a big game. We played nowhere near our potential.”
Richmond’s submission alarmed Hardwick, but he took some solace from a nine-game winning streak just to make the play-offs, noting most clubs experience finals heartache before prevailing.
“Most sides, it takes them a couple of goes before they get a crack,” he said.
“It’s a process. I have got a relatively young core group of good players so we will just continue to add to that, continue to get better.
“We have got a few deficiencies. There’s a few areas we will address over the course of the summer through draft and trade but we will work our way back.”
Richmond’s demise came after a bizarre opening: the Tigers took the field in their away strip, with the AFL on Thursday over-ruling their earlier edict to wear their home jumper.
The AFL originally ordered Port to wear their away strip, but the Power instead wore the club’s heritage prison bars guernsey.
A puzzled Hardwick was unaware of Richmond’s late jumper change until he saw players kitted for the game, likening league headquarters to television character the Fonz – having trouble admitting they’re wrong.
“You know, the AFL are like, they’re like the Fonz … w w w wrong,” he said.