Tigers' AFL turnaround surprises coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers' AFL turnaround surprises coach

By Adam Cooper 11/07/2010 04:00:33 PM Comments (0)

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick admits the Tigers' drastic AFL turnaround has surprised even him.

Richmond are now one of the form sides of the competition, after starting the season with nine losses.

Saturday night's defeat of Fremantle at Etihad Stadium was their fourth-straight win and fifth from six games.

Hardwick even had to adjust his "best win of the season" line from the previous round against Sydney given the Tigers trailed against Fremantle at half-time and played most of the game with two fewer players through injuries.

Their stirring 15.10 (100) to 11.15 (81) victory gave Richmond fans more optimism for the future, and even Hardwick said he had been pleasantly surprised of late.

"It's surprised me a little but we always knew that our back half of the year would be better than the start," he said.

"We were trying to put some things in place that were going to take a bit of time, to the guys' credit it's been the improvement of guys like Jack Riewoldt who's played very well, Shane Edwards ... Dan Connors also.

"So the individual improvement, it's a real credit to our assistants (coaches) and development coaches who have put a lot of time and effort into those guys to actually get them to play some very good football."

Hardwick said the young Tigers would draw plenty from beating a side vying for the double chance.

"Freo were missing five or six guys that can quite easily slot back into that side but it's a great scalp for our guys because they're a top-four side," he said.

"They still are a quality unit and, from our point of view, it's great to challenge ourselves.

"The great thing about young players is they thrive on a challenge, for example (Matthew) Pavlich to play on David Mundy, who was excellent (last) night, is just a fantastic learning experience for our guys.

"We still know we've got a long way to go, there's going to be games we win and unfortunately well lose at stages too.

"To knock off a top-four side is great and I'm sure there's some sides at the bottom end of the eight that will be thanking us."

Richmond began the week distracted by Ben Cousins' hospitalisation after he took sleeping tablets, and ended it with more drama.

Forward Ben Griffiths hurt a shoulder against the Dockers and will undergo scans on Monday, while midfielder Ben Nason suffered a cut cheek and blurred vision when he clashed heads with team-mate Jake King.

Richmond expect midfielder Richard Tambling to return from knee soreness to play North Melbourne next Sunday.

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