HAVING beaten Gold Coast just once in four encounters, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has declared "it's about time we get one back" heading into Sunday's crucial clash at the MCG. 

However Hardwick is not fooled by the Suns' lowly ladder position (16th) and expects a tough encounter for the seventh-placed Tigers, who were thrashed by Adelaide last week.

Fire at Punt Road

"We're playing an opponent that is playing better than their ladder form suggests. They drew with West Coast, and obviously beat the Brisbane Lions," Hardwick said on Thursday morning.

The Tigers have not played the Suns in Melbourne since the fledgling club entered the competition in 2011, having played three games at Cazaly Stadium in Cairns and one at Metricon Stadium.

"They've got a winning record against us. We have to make sure we rectify that because we have been really disappointing over the course of those years with those losses so it's about time we get one back," Hardwick said. 

The Tigers will be without Reece Conca and Dylan Grimes who both suffered minor hamstring injuries while Shane Edwards is still unavailable due to a small fracture in his leg.

However Tiger talisman Brett Deledio will return after missing the Adelaide clash due to illness.

Richmond has won 10 of the 13 games in which Deledio has played this season, and lost four of the five he has missed.

Hardwick laughed off suggestions that the star midfielder was essential to the Tigers getting the four points, but admitted the statistics pointed in a certain direction.

"It's a stat you can relate to anything. I'm sure there are certain other players that would be the same but from our [point of view] as soon as those 22 blokes step over the line we expect to win every game we play," Hardwick said. 

He said Deledio's reputation in the game would continue to grow in line with the Tigers' winning form. 

"He has always been an outstanding player but I think the thing that probably held his reputation back a little bit was the fact we weren't winning [and] now we're starting to win. His reputation is only going to be enhanced when we continue to get better," Hardwick said.

The Tigers will consider at match committee whether to persist with two ruckmen against the Suns, with Ivan Maric and Shaun Hampson well beaten against Adelaide.

They will also be looking for an improved performance from a midfield that was thrashed against the Crows, a blip that Hardwick put down to a less than acceptable work-rate and intensity all over the ground.

But they know victory won't come easy against Rodney Eade's men.

"They're a quality opposition…we're looking forward to an enormous challenge," Hardwick said. 

"They have players in their forward half in [Charlie] Dixon (35 goals in 2015) and [Tom] Lynch (34 goals) who have kicked [nearly] 70 goals between them, that are going to be really hard to contain, and then they have a mosquito fleet as well that are really hard to manage."