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Tigers coach Hardwick slams Riewoldt

The Age logo The Age 22/05/2014 Melissa Woods
a © Scott Barbour/Getty Images a

Loose-lipped Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt might be axed from the side to face Greater Western Sydney with coach Damien Hardwick saying he had let the club down.

Riewoldt this week publicly criticised the team's game plan, saying they had tried, and failed, to replicate that of AFL premiers Hawthorn.

Hardwick met with an apologetic Riewoldt and planned to do so again later in the day in consultation with the team's leadership group.

"We caught up with him this morning and removed his foot from his mouth and my foot from his arse," Hardwick said.

"Obviously we were pretty disappointed with his comments.

"We talk about being a united footy club and Jack went outside those boundaries.

"Unfortunately he's learned a harsh lesson from that."

Hardwick said Riewoldt couldn't explain his comment that the club's game plan had "gone this way and the competition had gone the other".

"That's the baffling question...I don't think he actually knew what he was saying.

"He doesn't know why he said it or what he meant so we'll take it for what it is."

The coach said Riewoldt's spot wasn't guaranteed against the Giants.

"We've got match committee this afternoon. His form has been OK. Whether we take any of this into account we'll see this afternoon," said Hardwick.

"Like anything, with every action comes an equal and opposition reaction.

"We obviously have some standards that we abide by here and he went outside those."

The Tigers have faced fierce criticism this week after last round's loss to Melbourne which effectively killed off their finals hopes.

Hardwick said the team hadn't changed their game plan from the last few seasons but their poor form didn't allow them to effectively execute it.

He said their drop-off in contested ball was hurting them.

Former Giant Anthony Miles, who was this week elevated from the rookie list, is set for a start to boost this area.

Hardwick also lamented their effectiveness going inside 50.

The frustrated coach said the form slump had been the toughest time of his five-year tenure.

"We're just not playing anywhere need where we want to be.

"There's some things that we know are going wrong that we're addressing but are they getting better at the rate we'd like, no."

The Tigers are still rated by bookmakers $1.36 favourites to knock over the Giants at Spotless Stadium but Hardwick said to do that they needed to stop powerhouse ruckman Shane Mumford, who has been sidelined since round three.

"He's an incredible player and it's amazing the difference and drop-off in clearances (without him).

"In the first three rounds their clearances were No.1 and over the next five rounds they went to 18."

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