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Furious Hardwick slams 'insipid' Tigers as injuries bite hard

Hardwick: Insipid, poor, not tough enough Tigers coach is clearly disappointed with his team's performance
Dustin Martin (L) David Astbury (C) and Shaun Grigg of the Tigers walk of after defeat during the 2015 AFL Round 04 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Melbourne Demons at the MCG, Melbourne on April 24, 2015. (Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images via AFL Media)
The Tigers will need to lift their heads and their game when they take on Geelong next week
It was as poor an effort as I've seen from our footy club in a long time
Damien Hardwick

BITTERLY disappointed Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has blasted his side for playing "insipid footy" and questioned their hunger for the contest after a 32-point defeat to Melbourne on Anzac Day eve.

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Trailing by only two points at half-time and with the chance to start the season 3-1, the Tigers went missing after the long break and kicked only one goal as Melbourne took control in the wet.

"You know what the wet finds out? It finds out a lot about your playing group," Hardwick said post-match.

"At the end of the day, a performance like that indicates we're not tough enough. 

"We're better than that bloody performance."

The first half was played in near perfect conditions at the MCG, but rain sheeted down early in the third term and it was the less fancied Demons who showed a willingness to crash into packs and play wet weather footy.

Richmond lost the contested ball (74-85) after half-time and coughed up six goals to one with the game on the line.

"To put up that second-half performance when you don't hunt the ball, the side looks stronger than you over the contest – we were fumbling and bumbling away – you're never going to win a footy game," Hardwick said.

"It was as poor an effort as I've seen from our footy club in a long time. Really poor.

"We were disappointing in an area we're normally good at. Contested ball is normally a foundation block of our footy club.

"Tonight we didn't come to play. We weren't tough enough, the opposition out-hunted us, outmuscled us. 

"We played insipid footy, plain and simple."

Rubbing salt into the wounds for the Tigers was a serious knee injury to debutant Nathan Drummond and calf problems for key forward Ben Griffiths.

The pair add to a lengthy injury list including key playmaker Brett Deledio (calf) – out for at least another week - Chris Knights (hamstring), Kane Lambert (shoulder) and Ricky Petterd (foot), who are facing long stints on the sidelines.

Dylan Grimes and Reece Conca are listed as one week away from returning from hamstring injuries. 

Hardwick said it was heartbreaking to lose Drummond – who was comforted by his teammates in the rooms post-match – to what is likely to be a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury.

"We're not quite sure of the extent of it, but it doesn't look that great at the moment," he said.

The coach confirmed Griffiths would miss at least next weekend's crunch clash against Geelong, which starts a tough run leading to the bye.

The Tigers then face North Melbourne, Collingwood, Port Adelaide (away), Essendon and Fremantle (away), however Hardwick was bullish about his side's chances if they can rediscover their best.

"Bring it on. Our team holds no fears for anyone. We're capable, if we play our best footy we'll beat anyone."