Hardwick plays down Tiger hype - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hardwick plays down Tiger hype

Roger Vaughan 23/06/2011 05:42:35 PM Comments (0)

Richmond's biggest challenge as they try to break into the AFL top eight is themselves, twice over.

Coach Damien Hardwick stressed that his developing side still has plenty to work on as they prepare for Saturday's clash with Melbourne at the MCG.

The winner of that match will go into the eight if Essendon or Fremantle lose this weekend.

As much as Hardwick is wary of Melbourne at their best, he said the focus at Punt Rd remains on building a more consistent performance.

Then there's also the growing hype on the other side of the fence among the impatient Tiger army.

This is the first time in three seasons that Richmond have been so close to the eight this deep into the season.

At his Thursday media conference, Hardwick was repeatedly asked about the significance of Saturday's game and each time, he did his best to play down the topic.

"Ninth and 10th, hey? Who would have thought it would be this big a game?" Hardwick said with a grin.

"It's a big game and it's two Melbourne sides coming together.

"Obviously the week after we have Carlton, so it's going to be another big game.

"The thing about the Richmond footy club is when things start to go OK, our crowd and supporters get out there and it's a terrific atmosphere.

"Just for us, it's all about getting our process right and worrying about the result on the end of that."

Hardwick added that there were still plenty of areas where his side had to improve if they were to become a consistent team.

As good as they were in the last term against Brisbane last Saturday night, it was their first win in three games.

"Effectively, it's a battle against ourselves to get those results," he said.

"Obviously we play Melbourne this week ... last week I went and watched them, they were terrific, they looked like a side that is well and truly entrenched in the eight."

What worries Hardwick most about the Demons is their ability to crack the game open with pace.

But it is also a question of which Melbourne will show up - the team that smashed Fremantle by 89 points, or the rabble that lost to Collingwood the week before by 88.

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