Coach says Richmond's self-belief is up - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Coach says Richmond's self-belief is up

Greg Buckle 01/05/2011 12:59:55 PM Comments (0)

Richmond finished 15th last year and the players would hope for a win rather than expect it, according to coach Damien Hardwick.

But with successive victories over North Melbourne and Brisbane to improve their 2011 win-loss record to 2-4, the Tigers no longer go into a game just hoping.

On-ballers Dustin Martin and Nathan Foley combined for 75 possessions in Richmond's 26-point win over the win-less Lions at the MCG on Saturday night and Hardwick can see growth throughout his AFL side in defence, midfield and attack.

The Tigers finished strongly after trailing just before three-quarter time to win 18.16 (124) to Brisbane's 14.14 (98) as Jack Riewoldt kicked five goals to take his season's tally to 21 atop the Coleman Medal table.

The Tigers face a massive test against Fremantle (4-1) at the MCG next Saturday.

"Like most footy clubs, last year you're probably happy with an effort," Hardwick said.

"Now we're not happy if we don't win.

"We expect to win every game we play. The growth in the players is now they come to every game expecting to win also.

"Last year they hoped, now they're starting to believe they can win which is a really important step in their development.

"We still understand we've got a hell of a long way to go. Sides like Collingwood and Hawthorn really touched us up.

"We've just got to keep improving in those areas, further galvanise the belief of the playing group and work our way into the season."

Hardwick said three-goal contributions from livewire small forwards Jake King and Robin Nahas were great signs as the Tigers aim to spread the goalkicking load.

"We do have an unhealthy reliance on Jack (Riewoldt) at times," Hardwick said.

Hardwick said Martin, who had a break-out game with 33 possessions against North last week then backed up with 35 touches including 10 inside-50s on Saturday night, was in the "elite" category for ball use.

"From where he's at as a second-year player,he's going to be a long-term player at this footy club," Hardwick said of the 19-year-old.

The second-year coach was also excited about Foley's 40-possession game after injuries restricted the 25-year-old to only four matches last year.

"Defensively you see guys like (Dylan) Grimes and (Alex) Rance are starting to forge a career," Hardwick added.

"Robbie Nahas has had a very good five weeks. (Ex-Bomber) Bachar Houli stepped in as has (former Blue) Shaun Grigg."

Hardwick said he expected midfielder Shane Tuck to push for selection despite being benched in the second quarter with a knock to the ribs.

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