Tigers aim for big AFL 'mini season' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tigers aim for big AFL 'mini season'

Roger Vaughan 20/08/2011 03:54:49 PM Comments (0)

Most AFL teams are either eyeing the finals or praying for the pain to end with three rounds left.

But Richmond are one week into a four-game "mini season", determined to show they are better than their six-game losing streak and then go into next year with greater hope and expectation.

The Tigers, who are 13th, opened this season-ending block and ended the losing stretch with last weekend's upset win over Sydney.

They next play Melbourne in Sunday's MCG twilight match, then face Adelaide away before ending the season against North Melbourne.

All three games are winnable, but will also demand the best from the developing Tigers.

Melbourne, for example, must beat Richmond to keep their slim finals hopes alive and showed some improvement in last week's loss to West Coast.

"They're probably 50-50 games, all of them," assistant coach Danny Daly said.

"If we look at where we are at the moment, we're half a win better off than last year, but it's a great opportunity for the boys to finish the season off well.

"It's a bit of an incentive."

An encouraging sign for Daly is that the players did not drop their heads during the losing streak.

If anything, criticism in the media about how the Tigers were performing steeled their resolve.

The spirit was obvious at coach Damien Hardwick's media conference on Wednesday, when the players and support staff burst into the room with a cake for his 39th birthday.

"'Dimma' gets embarrassed pretty easily - it was actually only meant to be a couple of coaching staff and a couple of players," Daly said.

"But when we got Jack (Riewoldt), all of a sudden he had about 40 blokes follow.

"I don't think I've seen him go that red ... even in press conferences after we've been smacked.

"I'm sure, deep down, he loved it."

Daly suspects there will be retribution, particularly if the Tigers beat Melbourne.

"Hopefully we get a win this week - something might happen next week," he said with a chuckle.

But to beat Melbourne, Richmond must continue to work on finding the right balance between defence and scoring.

The goal-scoring opportunities dried up during the losing streak as they focussed on improving the defensive side of their game.

Daly notes that last season, Riewoldt was the only player to score more than 20 goals - this year, there will be five or six.

Spreading the goalkicking load was a big aim for Richmond this year.

"The positive has been that we know when we get the ball inside 50, we do score," Daly said.

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