Hardwick says Tigers are on track in AFL

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    Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says the fact skipper Chris Newman was so demoralised by the AFL loss to West Coast shows the Tigers are on the right path.

    After a tough draw in the opening five rounds, Richmond (1-4) face a winnable game against Port Adelaide (1-4) at AAMI Stadium on Sunday.

    “The great thing I love is seeing their faces after a game,” Hardwick said on Thursday.

    “It’s bitter disappointment. I’ve got no doubt it’s a spur in their side that they’ll come out all guns blazing this week.

    “You saw Chris at the end of the game. He was demoralised.”

    The Tigers have been solid in the past two weeks with 10-point losses to premiers Geelong and unbeaten West Coast.

    “Port Adelaide and ourselves are both in similar positions. We’re probably playing better football than our record suggests for both footy clubs,” Hardwick said.

    “It’s a big game for both of us.

    “The honourable loss for us is a thing of the past. No longer is just being competitive acceptable.

    “We’ve got to win football games.”

    The Tigers face all eight of last year’s finalists in the first 10 rounds of 2012.

    “Our draw doesn’t get any easier,” Hardwick said.

    Hardwick, who played in Port’s 2004 premiership side, said he was expecting a tough contest from a proud club.

    Star defender Brett Deledio has recovered well from a knock to the knee, Hardwick says.

    “We spoke to ‘Tucky’ (Shane Tuck) about trying not to take out our good players’ knees, if possible,” Hardwick joked.

    Hardwick admitted Richmond’s form had been frustrating and led to some desk-thumping and the occasional tossing of a phone in the coach’s box.

    “I was better (against West Coast). Last week, I think I owe the Geelong people about $15 for a new one,” he said.

    “It’s an emotional game but you’ve got to control yourself every now and then. Kids are watching at home.”

    © AAP 2015

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