Author Topic: Hardwick's post-match media conference / 'Embrace the excitement': Dimma  (Read 95 times)

Offline one-eyed

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Dimma's post-match presser:



'Embrace the excitement', Hardwick tells players
9 September 2017

RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick has encouraged his players to embrace the Tiger Army's excitement, declaring "it's a good time to be happy" after leading the club to its first preliminary final in 16 years.

The Tigers will host one of Greater Western Sydney, Port Adelaide or West Coast at the MCG in a fortnight, with a golden chance to progress to the club's first Grand Final since 1982.

Hardwick said his players had the maturity to perform this September while enjoying the hype building around them after a crowd of 95,028 – the biggest non-Grand Final crowd since 2010 – cheered them home on Friday night.

"We've taken a little bit of a change of tack and we want to embrace it," Hardwick said after Friday night's 51-point win. 

"It was incredible hearing them at the end, 95,000 of them here tonight and probably 60-odd thousand were ours. They're so loud and passionate, so we want our players to enjoy that.

"It's not often you get to make it to a preliminary final and play in front of massive crowds like we do, so enjoy it, once you get to work then switch on and let's get the job done.

"We're really confident we can do both. It's a good time to be happy."

Friday night's win was Hardwick's first finals victory as coach, coming just 12 months after an eight-win season that sparked a failed board coup and saw the club finish 13th.

The coach predicted a quick bounce back into finals last August, but even he couldn't see the club making a preliminary final in such thrilling fashion.

"I was confident at the end of last year, knowing that we were bringing in some players that we would bounce back to finals," Hardwick said.

"Did I think we'd be in a preliminary final? Probably no.

"But it's a credit to our players, a credit to our coaches, our administration staff, Brendon (Gale), the board, Peggy (O'Neal) … all those people who have just had incredible faith in me.

"They could quite easily have tipped me out, but that's the great thing about our footy club, we believe in our people."

Hardwick praised his players, who hit Geelong with a relentless wave of pressure on Friday night and had the maturity to respond when the Cats challenged in the third quarter.

The coach reserved special praise for captain Trent Cotchin, who led from the front in an inspiring first half and finished his game with a magnificent goal that set the Tiger Army into a frenzy.

"He was outstanding today," Hardwick said of the skipper, who finished with 20 possessions, seven clearances and nine tackles.

"He just smashed in, won contested ball, all the things you want your captain to do.

"He led from the front. He was really important on (Patrick) Dangerfield. He was like a battering ram.

"I see the things that Trent does that a lot of people don’t. That's why I love him as a player … and that's why he is our captain."