Saturday, December 10News That Matters

Hardwick cops blame for shock Suns loss

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says his side’s last-gasp loss to the Gold Coast is on him and the Tigers must improve to close out games if they want to contend for the AFL premiership.

He said the replay of Noah Anderson’s after-the-siren goal to pinch the Suns a two-point win had been a tough watch, having blown a 28-point three-quarter-time lead.

Considering the Tigers have won seven of 10 games with the three losses by a combined 11 points, tidying up their finishes looms as a pivotal growth area heading into finals.

“It was challenging, there’s no question, but the fact of the matter is I didn’t prepare the players well enough,” Hardwick told reporters.

“Our structure itself was okay, but the philosophy, our players probably just didn’t execute to the level that we’d require.

“There’s no harder space to be in the last two minutes when you’ve got to try and save a game, winning games is a little bit easier …trying to save it is tough, sports betting software provider especially if you’ve got four or five minutes to go.”

The Tigers are warm favourites to hand North Melbourne interim coach Leigh Adams a loss to begin his tenure, with Trent Cotchin (clavicle), Noah Balta (hamstring) and Nick Vlastuin (suspension) all available for selection.

They’ll again be without Dustin Martin, who Hardwick said remains doubtful to play even next week with his hamstring injury, while Tom Lynch will also miss up to three weeks with the same concern.

Ruckman Ivan Soldo (thumb) won’t play while Toby Nankervis (knee) is touch-and-go.

Sitting eighth despite some solid form, Hardwick said it was time for the Tigers to make their move as the finals quickly approach.

“We know our best is good enough …we certainly feel we’re in the frame,” he said.

“I look at the competition at the moment as wide open, there’s up to 12 sides I still think can personally win it and we’re in one of those positions.

“A lot of the indicators that we have indicate we’re better than where we’re placed but unfortunately, as we know … we’re based on outcomes, so we’ve got to get better.”