Hird bracing for angry Tigers in AFL clash - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hird bracing for angry Tigers in AFL clash

Robert Grant 08/07/2011 03:29:47 PM Comments (0)

Essendon expect Richmond to be breathing fire on Saturday night when the two teams clash at the MCG.

The Bombers are bracing for a Tiger side, intent on avenging their 103-point loss to Carlton last week, while Essendon are trying to keep a lid on celebrations after upsetting Geelong.

The Bombers will also have to contend with an ordinary record at the MCG and a poor recent record against Richmond.

And they are smarting from their round-nine loss to the Tigers which started a four-match slump for the high-flying side.

Bombers' coach James Hird said he is anxious the players atone for their performance earlier in the season and does not believe they will still be carried away with their defeat of the previously-unbeaten Cats.

"I hope not," Hird said.

"We've just basically trained hard this week and prepared for Richmond who caused us a lot of troubles last time and beat us quite convincingly.

"It's a very important game for both teams but we're very keen to play Richmond again and give a much better account of ourselves than we did last time."

Hird feels he has moved to counter Essendon's difficulty in the past with the wide open spaces of the MCG.

"The team this week has got a lot more running power than we've had in the past," he said.

"You need a good spread of inside players and guys who can run and create at the MCG - that's why it's such a great ground, because it's got something for everyone.

"The MCG is probably the hardest ground to defend in the AFL because of its width, which makes it hard to cover all spaces."

Despite the Bombers' dramatic return to form, he refuses to speculate on the finals.

"It's not something we've been thinking about," Hird said.

"The way the guys played at the weekend was a real positive for our supporters and an affirmation of what we're doing but it's not the be-all and the end-all of what we're doing.

"If finals come along, they do - we're six-and-a-half wins and nine games to go so anything can happen."

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