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Tigers need to act quickly: coach

By Adam Cooper 13/04/2009 08:28:36 PM Comments (0)

Richmond coach Terry Wallace admits the Tigers must turn their season around quickly to stave off pressure at the struggling AFL club.

The Tigers lurched to another embarrassing defeat on Monday, to the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, to remain anchored at the bottom of the ladder after three straight defeats.

Richmond began well by keeping the Doggies goalless in the first term, until familiar skill errors and a lack of intent emerged as the Bulldogs won 16.14 (110) to 8.15 (63) in perfect conditions.

Richmond now take on fellow struggler Melbourne, at the MCG on Sunday, in a game that could have major implications for the Tigers.

Another poor defeat could conceivably spell the end for Wallace, who has conceded he must lead the Tigers to the finals if he is to earn another contract.

"Clearly we need to do the next few weeks right," Wallace said.

"We know that. We understand that's the situation, but we're not running and hiding."

Richmond entered the season flying high with optimism, on the back of last year's improvement, the recruiting of Ben Cousins, and Wallace's confidence in his rebuilding.

But after a nightmare first-up thrashing from Carlton and Cousins' hamstring injury, an honourable loss to Geelong and another defeat to the Bulldogs, the necktie is getting tighter.

But Wallace denied the pressure would affect he or his players.

"In all honestly I don't think so at all," he said.

"We know what we've got to do.

"When you're playing two of the (2008) preliminary finalists in the last two weeks after you've made a mess of the first one, we knew the situation that was going to occur.

"We've spoken about it ad nauseum to be honest about the scenarios and where they can be and what can happen.

"You've just got to stay true to yourselves and get on with what's coming up over the next couple of weeks."

Among the challenges Wallace faces this week is finding the right mix of players who use the ball well and battle hard.

Wallace said Richmond played the more skilful types in round one but lacked fight, whereas in round two they competed hard but lacked polish.

In the second-quarter against the Bulldogs, both facets went missing as the Dogs slammed on six goals to one and Richmond turned the ball over and retreated.

Midfielder Richard Tambling was so bad in both areas he was given ironic cheers by Richmond supporters.

Despite 77 games, Tambling remains a boo-boy for many Tiger fans because he was drafted directly before Lance Franklin, now a superstar at Hawthorn.

Wallace said Tambling's build-up was compromised because his partner gave birth over the weekend, but conceded the onballer played poorly and had to live with the Bronx cheers.

"He's one of the players we rely on in our side and he didn't live up to his part of the bargain today," he said.

"We'll see where that leaves him from a selection point of view as the week rolls on."

Tambling was not the only offender.

Forward Jay Schulz was barely sighted, Nathan Brown's kicking was badly astray, Jake King turned the ball over often, captain Chris Newman faded badly after a great start and Wallace highlighted Tom Hislop's inability to pick up the ball when a goal beckoned.

Midfielder Nathan Foley stood out, Luke McGuane played well in defence and Matthew Richardson was good on a wing, but had little impact when sent forward in the last quarter.

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