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Tigers can cope with expectation: Hardwick
By Guy Hand
19:49 AEST Thu Jun 27 2013

They are mobilising, visualising and fantasising about being involved in the AFL finals for the first time in 12 years.

But to a Tiger army growing in both number and anticipation, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has a message.

The Tigers haven't achieved anything yet.

With eight wins in 12 games, three wins in a row, and nestled comfortably in the top eight, it's a glowing mid-season report card.

Going into a clash with struggling St Kilda on Sunday which could further entrench them in the eight, thoughts of finals and growing expectation is not burdening Tigers players, says Hardwick.

"The maturity of our playing group takes care of that," Hardwick said when asked about the weight of outside expectation.

"Our leaders are good at making sure everyone remains focused, which is a pleasing thing for us.

"We expect to win every game we play.

"Most good sides do, and that's the stage we're at. We go into every game very confident that if we play to the best of our ability, we can beat anyone.

"At certain stages this year, that hasn't happened and we've had some disappointing performances. We've certainly got a lot of areas we think we can still improve, so by no means are we home and hosed.

"We've still got to work incredibly hard in every game and play consistent footy to get the result we're after."

The Tigers' stellar form has helped the club crack the 60,000 membership barrier this season.

Hardwick is confident that as Richmond string together several successful years, it will grow further.

He is also confident Tigers veteran Shane Tuck will eventually fight his way back into a side doing well in his absence.

Tuck is set to return through the VFL this weekend from a shoulder injury.

"We're looking forward to him having an impact in the later stages of the year," Hardwick said.

"He's an important player for us when he's up and going. He's a proud player, he's a good player, and he'll fight his way back."


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