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Hardwick "guarantees" Tigers will bounce back

Football

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has launched a spirited defence of his AFL club – even “guaranteeing” they will recover from a terrible start to the season.

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The Tigers face Hawthorn tomorrow night in desperate need of a win, with a 1-5 start making it their worst start to a campaign since 2010.

“It will turn. We’ve got complete confidence in this playing group that they will turn it around,” Hardwick said today.

“They’ve done it before and will do it again… we’ll bounce back. I guarantee you.”

Hardwick signed a contract extension earlier this year, with the new deal running until the end of the 2018 season.

The 43-year-old’s position isn’t considered to be in any doubt. But recent reports have suggested there will be a frank review into the club’s football department, including Hardwick’s assistants and recruiting staff.

“We review daily, weekly, monthly. We always have an end-of-year review,” Hardwick said.

“This is nothing that footy clubs don’t do on a regular basis.

“I’m very happy with our coaching group.

“I’m incredibly happy with the state of our list … I’m incredibly confident with the people we’ve got at this footy club, that we’ve got the right people.”

Brett Deledio will captain the side in the absence of Trent Cotchin, who will miss at least two weeks with a fractured cheekbone.

Dylan Grimes remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, while suspended star Alex Rance will miss the MCG clash with Hawthorn.

It leaves Hardwick with few options in defence.

“We’ve probably got five or six players out of our best 22 that aren’t playing now but other sides have injuries also,” Hardwick said.

“We’ve got to play better with the players we’ve got … we’ve got some guys that aren’t playing well.

“I’m very confident in those players getting the best out of themselves … guys don’t lose their ability. They lose confidence.”

Hardwick noted his coaching panel had tweaked some aspects of their gameplan as they seek to upset the reigning triple premiers.

“We’ll reset a few things,” he said.

“Most sides play there same. Sides just execute it better than others.”

-AAP

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