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Tigers’ youth investment to pay big dividends

Hardwick previews Crows Damien Hardwick addresses the media at the Swinburne Centre ahead of the Round 13 clash against the Crows.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick is convinced there is a silver lining to the Club’s horror injury run this season.

The Tigers go into their Round 13 match against Adelaide at Adelaide Oval without the services of top-class players such as captain Trent Cotchin, co vice-captains Alex Rance and Jack Riewoldt, 2019 fill-in skipper Shane Edwards, three other premiership players in Kane Lambert, Toby Nankervis and David Astbury, plus quality small defender Jayden Short.

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Although the line-up to take on the Crows contains six players with 12 games or less of AFL experience (nine all-up under 40 games), Hardwick believes the impressive progress being made by the talented Tiger cubs, on their steep learning curve, will hold Richmond in really good stead for the future.

“We play a Richmond brand, so we’ve got to teach these guys a Richmond brand regardless. We want to play a certain style of game and these players have got to come in and learn that. It will take some time,” Hardwick said.

“We’re certainly learning a little bit about our players, which is a real positive from our point of view.

“Without this spate of injuries, we wouldn’t have found the quality of players that we have.

“It’s not helping us now, but I guarantee it’s going to help us going forward . . .

“We’re confident that our players and our system will stand up.

“They’ll continue to improve, we’ll continue to train it, and it’s a great test against a side this week v Adelaide.

“It’s a really good opportunity for us to stand up and show what makes us, us . . . big crowd, formidable outfit, opposition’s home game . . .

“We can sit there and try and defend the opposition, but the reality is we think when we’re up and going we’re a really hard team to play against.”