AFL: Richmond won’t abandon the defensive system that has won three flags because of one loss

Richmond will have to “tweak” the defensive system that has won three premierships after being worked over by Sydney last week but won’t be abandoning it all together.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said the speed the Swans moved the ball in their 45-point win at the MCG last Saturday, and the short kicking game that helped it, was just too good for his team.

Hardwick suggested he would “challenge the umpires” on just how far some of those short kicks went but conceded changes to his own team would be necessary.

But he denied their defensive system was no longer workable amid claims Richmond needed to go more man-on-man.

“That’s the system we play and it’s held us in good stead over the last few years and will hold us in good stead again,” Hardwick said on Wednesday.

“We didn’t implement to the level of our normal capacity. We’ll go to work again.

“Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.

“We’ll still back in our system. The sample size is not to a level where we would make significant change.

“We also have got a really good understanding the game evolves and we may have to evolve with it. At this stage we will tweak our system, we won’t throw out our system.

“Their short probing game was evident. The distance of kick, the shortness, was really hard to defend. That’s something we’ll look at and we‘ll challenge the umpires on, that distance of kick.

With Dion Prestia and Kamdyn McIntosh ruled out, there will be a couple of exciting names to be discussed at the selection table this week.

🎥 Damien Hardwick previews Friday night's clash against Port Adelaide.

“Sydney had a great game, we didn’t play particularly well. I’m a pretty proud coach of a pretty proud playing group. Judge us on the next four weeks, see how we go then.”

Hardwick said captain Trent Cotchin was more likely than not to play against Port Adelaide on Friday after he finished the Swans game on the bench with ice on his hamstring and groin areas.

Bachar Houli could also return for his first game since last year’s Grand Final.

Hardwick confirmed the Tigers could also have one or two first gamers, with Dion Prestia and Kamden McIntosh set to miss the clash with Port.

“It’s a great opportunity for players to grow in to roles. It certainly reinvigorates the coaching group, and I’ve got no doubt it will reinvigorate the playing group as well,” he said.

“There will be at least one debutant and possibly two.

“There’s a number of guys we are looking at. We are very bullish on the young talent we have.”

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