Premiership will be one of the greatest flag wins, says Richmond coach Damien Hardwick

Trent Cotchin takes part in a drill.Credit:Getty Images

“For us it’s an opportunity,” Hardwick told reporters on Monday.

“I know a lot of people have jumped up in arms a little bit in regards to an unfair playing field and it’s going to be a little bit different, but this will be one of the greatest premierships ever won in AFL.

“The circumstances we are in presents an enormous opportunity for our footy club and our players are very much looking forward to it.

“We’re very well placed. We do a lot of work not just in our physical preparation but our mental preparation as well, so we’re very confident the way we will prepare will lead us into a very good round two and onwards result.”

Superstars Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin were among the first group to train on Monday morning at Punt Road.

Hardwick said the club doctors and high performance bosses were keeping a close eye on players’ groins and calves in particular, as players undertake more dynamic training now that they are able to train in more than just pairs.

And although some clubs have opted to separate their backs, fowards and mids to mitigate the risk of losing an entire line if one player tests positive to COVID-19, the Tigers have sought to keep things as normal as possible.

Richmond's hand sanitiser set-up at Monday's training session.

Richmond’s hand sanitiser set-up at Monday’s training session.Credit:Getty Images

“No, we’ve just backed in our system. At the end of the day, we just worry about what we can control, our backs are all together, our mids are all together,” Hardwick said.


“The connection of how we play is vitally important, so for us it was more about, ‘let’s get the connection of our team up and going straight away’.

“We’ve got great faith in our players in regards to hygiene and washing of hands, social distancing. We’ve been very well educated from our strength and conditioning and our medical staff so we’re very confident they’ll be OK.

“Our biggest, number-one priority is getting our side playing together as quickly as we can in this three-week period.”

Premiership defender Bachar Houli is the only Tiger with an injury concern as they head back to training.

Houli missed the round one win over Carlton with a calf strain, but Hardwick is confident it won’t be a long-term injury.

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