UNDER PRESSURE: Tigers coach Damien Hardwick is feeling the heat.
UNDER PRESSURE: Tigers coach Damien Hardwick is feeling the heat. JULIAN SMITH

Richmond driving us up the wall

ON that long road to AFL glory, some makes and models just don't have the drive to go the distance.

Some have 'conked out' and are about to be towed back to the shop to undergo some major restoration work, especially under the bonnet.

Damien Hardwick was beaming when describing the GWS Giants as a "Lamborghini” after watching them completely roll his Richmond.

There was actually a $250,000 'Lambo' spotted in Western Sydney last week, towing a trailer full of goats.

But this particular AFL model isn't carrying passengers of any kind.

Having taken his sweet ride fresh out of the showroom, coach Leon Cameron has it in cruise control as they prepare to enter new territory - finals.

Hardwick, meanwhile, is going nowhere with his own vehicle which he might compare to a badly restored Holden Camira.

Not built for success, it has been tinkered with and patched up with spare parts here and there but has not yet received the genuine overhaul required.

Richmond has pulled into the emergency lane with the hazard lights on, after kicking just 3.5 (23) - the sixth worst score in its 108-year history and lowest total in 55 years - in Canberra.

Hardwick seemed mesmerised by the sleek Giants, who left his Tigers in their dust.

"They're an incredible side. You look at their talent across the board, it's superior. Jeez they're just bloody good. They'll go a long way,” he said post match.

You got the impression he'd love a test drive. You could almost picture Cameron dangling the keys in front of him.

While his own side would fail a roadworthy right now - and more likely to be carrying a bunch of goats - Hardwick remains optimistic.

"A lot of the cattle that are going to take us forward are already here,” he said.

"They're young and developing. We'll just keep working our way through it. They're a strong group, they're a resilient group and we're capable of righting the ship.”

Most experts don't agree, urging the Tigers to undergo a complete rebuild which will surely come after three failed finals campaigns without one win to show for them, and now this.

Hardwick probably has every right to feel confident he'll be in the driver's seat no matter what happens.

He is contracted until the end of 2018.

And the old tape player still seems to work, with the Richmond version of the tune Stand by Your Man stuck on rotate.

"At the end of the day, Damien has a contract,” Tigers chief executive Brendan Gale said on radio 3AW yesterday.

"He'll be the coach next year. He's been a strong coach for our football club.

"There'll be considerable learnings out of this year and he'll be better for it.

"We're right with the coach.”

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