AFL 1 year ago

Tigers will be in 2017 AFL finals: coach

  • Tigers will be in 2017 AFL finals: coach

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 04: Damien Hardwick, coach of the Tigers speaks with Jack Riewoldt of the Tigers during a Richmond Tigers AFL training session at Punt Road Oval on August 4, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Coach Damien Hardwick fully expects Richmond will return to finals in 2017, saying his AFL club started a rebuild two years ago.

The Tigers finished in the top eight during the past three seasons but currently sit 13th on the ladder, having been one of the league's biggest disappointments this year.

Hardwick has copped the brunt of scrutiny, with a couple of the club's 12 losses being particularly embarrassing.

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Tigers president Peggy O'Neal and chief executive Brendon Gale were also in the headlines earlier this month amid rumblings about a board challenge.

Richmond is expected to make changes to its football department once an off-field review is completed with the help of accountancy firm Ernst & Young.

Hardwick is confident his side will be far more competitive next year.

"I personally think it will be a quick bounce," Hardwick told Fox Footy.

"I would be disappointed if we're not in finals next year.

"The potential I see in the players we've got I think we will be playing finals next year."

Much of the criticism directed at Punt Rd Oval this year has focused on the club's list and lack of depth.

Hardwick has blooded six debutants this year, while veterans Troy Chaplin and Ivan Maric have only played a handful of games.

Chaplin has retired, while Maric could be shown the door at season's end.

"I speak about the potential that our list has. We've probably turned over 40 per cent of our list in the last two years," Hardwick said.

"Which is one of the bigger turnarounds in a club and we've invested heavily in the draft in those last two years.

"People often say 'Richmond need to rebuild' but we started that two years ago.

"We've very thorough in our list management planning.

"It's been an incredibly disappointing season .. we had to take a little step back to go forward. That step back has been a little bit bigger than I would have liked."

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