Hardwick senses his Tigers set to re­vive

The West Australian - - SPORT - GLENN MC­FAR­LANE

It does take a bit of lag to catch up ... We’re hop­ing it bounces back ...

MEL­BOURNE

Rich­mond coach Damien Hardwick has pre­dicted a con­test­ed­ball re­vival at Ade­laide Oval to­mor­row night, buoyed by su­per­star Dustin Martin’s avail­abil­ity and strong re­me­dial work on the train­ing track.

The Tigers’ pres­sure brand has taken a bat­ter­ing in the past fort­night, los­ing the con­test­ed­pos­ses­sion count by a col­lec­tive 55 against North Mel­bourne and Gee­long.

Hardwick said he knew the rea­sons be­hind the drop-off and they weren’t only man­power is­sues.

He said a so­lu­tion would be found in the com­ing weeks, start­ing against Ade­laide.

“To be beaten in the con­tested man­ner again ... was dis­ap­point­ing and we are work­ing on some things,” Hardwick said.

“We un­der­stand what the prob­lem is, we’re just con­tin­u­ing to work through that part of our game to get a bet­ter re­sult from that.

“That hope­fully will take not as long as we’d think, if that makes sense. It does take a bit of lag to catch up.

“We’re un­der­stand­ing why the is­sues are oc­cur­ring, we just need to con­tinue work­ing on a so­lu­tion, which will take a lit­tle bit of time.

“We’re hop­ing it bounces back on Thurs­day night.”

Martin copped a knock against Gee­long, but seemed to be ready to play, ac­cord­ing to the Rich­mond coach.

“He’s fine,” Hardwick said of Martin. “Our in­di­ca­tion is that he will play ... no prob­lems.”

He backed de­fender Ryan Garth­waite ahead of a likely duel against Tay­lor Walker or Josh Jenk­ins, fol­low­ing Tom Hawkins’ dom­i­na­tion of the young Tiger last week.

“Garthy is play­ing against some of the best for­wards in the com­pe­ti­tion, and you don’t of­ten get to do that at the age of 20 in a side like ours,” Hardwick said.

“We’re re­ally con­fi­dent he’s learn­ing some things. He played bet­ter again ... and he’s cer­tainly taken his game to a higher level ev­ery time he takes to the park.

“We look at it now in isolation, we sit there and go, ‘he’s prob­a­bly get­ting beaten at stages’, but the re­al­ity is, it’s only go­ing to help in the long term, and it’ll cer­tainly help us in the long term as well.”

Nick Vlas­tuin (hip) and Bran­don El­lis are likely to play, but Hardwick ruled a line through David Ast­bury (ham­string).

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