Tigers lament an AFL kick in the backside
Posted on 09/18/19 8:44 PM
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has made three changes for Sunday’s match against Hawthorn.First came the AFL kick in the backside from Adelaide. Now Richmond have lost midfielder Dion Prestia with a sore left glute.
The Tigers were all set to regain Prestia for Sunday’s match against Hawthorn, after he missed the first two games with a hamstring injury.
But after coach Damien Hardwick confirmed Prestia’s return on Friday morning, the Tigers said later in the day that it would have to wait.
The gluteal muscle problem will keep him out of action.
Instead, Sam Lloyd will join Nick Vlastuin and debutant Jack Higgins as the inclusions.
The Tigers have had a lot to think about after last week’s loss to Adelaide, with Hardwick calling it a kick in the backside.
The reigning premiers lost the contested-ball count by a whopping 48 in the grand-final rematch against the Crows.
Hardwick feels the Tigers had probably been lucky to go down by only six goals.
They’re also giving away too many free kicks and, on Sunday, they come up against resurgent Hawthorn, with Hawks midfielder Tom Mitchell in outstanding form.
Hardwick said the nine-day break between the Adelaide and Hawthorn games had given Richmond plenty of time to analyse what went wrong.
He added they had spent a lot of time looking at video of the Adelaide match.
“It was obviously disappointing to go down in such a manner … the great thing about a nine-day break is we get to do a lot of research about why that happened,” he said.
“We’re certainly looking for a better result this week.
“You give up those sorts of (contested) numbers, you’re lucky to lose by 36 points.
“It was a good kick in the backside at the right time.”
Hardwick added wholesale changes were not necessary and had great faith in his team.
“We played such good footy in the (pre-season), it probably just didn’t transfer in the first two rounds,” he said, also referring to their scratchy round-one win over Carlton.
By contrast, Hawthorn have impressed in their 2-0 start.
“They’re playing some great footy; they seemed to have wound back the clock,” Hardwick said.
The coach added Mitchell was a major problem – do they tag him, or try to restrict players around the star midfielder?
“He just puts himself in the right place at the right time, every time, and those players are really, really hard to stop,” Hardwick said.
“We’ll put some work into him … he was a great player last year and he’s gone up a level this year at this stage.”
Jack Graham was sore after the Adelaide loss, but Hardwick expected him to play and spend some time on Mitchell.