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Hardwick keen to talk with Tigers' sports science department

Jennifer Phelan  February 6, 2013 3:41 PM

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Richmond coach Damien Hardwick at Tigers training

We'll certainly have a conversation, there's no doubt. You do put an enormous amount of trust in the medical staff

RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick will "certainly" talk to his sports science staff about their management of his players in the wake of the Essendon supplement scandal.

Hardwick, a former Essendon player and friend of Dons coach James Hird, described the Bombers' plight as a "difficult situation" he hoped would end up being deemed a "mistake".  

In the meantime, he said the Tigers would double check there was no concern within their own sports science processes.  

"We'll certainly have a conversation, there's no doubt. You do put an enormous amount of trust in the medical staff and our guys are outstanding in what they do and what they deliver," Hardwick said on Wednesday, after the Tigers touched down in Alice Springs.

"It will certainly be a conversation we'll have again just make sure we're crossing the T's and dotting the I's."

Richmond rookie and ex-Bomber Sam Lonergan didn't make the trip to Alice Springs for the Tigers' community camp and Friday night's clash with the Indigenous All Stars.

Lonergan had ankle surgery at the end of last season and remains in the rehabilitation group.

Hardwick said he hadn't spoken to Lonergan, who was cut from Essendon last year, but admitted there was some concern about his player getting caught up in the fallout.

"There's always a concern. There's a human element as well and as a fan of football … it's a concern," he said.

"Probably the sooner we find out about this, the better, we can move on and get our game back up to being great again."

Hardwick said the use of sports science in football had grown "enormously" since he retired at the end of 2004.

He said while every team searched for an edge, there were known boundaries.

"There comes a time where there's a platform there you just can't cross," he said.

"Probably at some stage that is going to happen but the reality is, we've got a certain amount of guidelines we abide by and we adhere to those, so it's just something we hope doesn’t become prevalent in our sport."

When asked if it was possible for a coach to be unaware of the sports science department's processes, he said "everyone club is different so it's hard for me to answer that one".

He also said he hoped the situation resolved itself quickly.

"No one likes to see this in our competition and we just hope that it gets better," he said.

"The one things we've got in AFL is great environment as an organisation. The AFL to their credit have fantastic education programs the players are all across and we just hope it's a mistake."

Jennifer Phelan is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow her on Twitter @AFL_JenPhelan.