RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick says wearing the club's Dreamtime jumper against Hawthorn on Friday night is a statement that the Tigers are prepared to stand up to the treatment of Adam Goodes and support the indigenous community.
He said the booing that has followed Goodes this season was "bullying at best and racism at its worst" and there was no place for it in the game.
He said the club's leadership group and indigenous midfielder Shane Edwards wanted to make a symbolic gesture in support of a fellow AFL player.
"We just wanted to throw our support [behind Adam]. It's not something the AFL community wants to see, one of the greats of our game not playing because of this impact, so the players have made a stand and want to support Goodesy in this way," Hardwick said.
The Western Bulldogs also announced on Thursday that they would wear their Indigenous Round guernsey for the round 18 clash with Essendon.
Hardwick said there would always be a "peanut gallery" who would behave inappropriately but the majority of AFL fans were respectful.
Meanwhile, Hardwick said it was important the Tigers backed up against the Hawks after the disappointing last-minute loss to Fremantle and continued playing a good brand of football to maintain momentum.
"It was a gut-wrenching loss [but] the fact of the matter is you can't dwell on that, you have to got move forward," Hardwick said.
Hardwick ruled out Shaun Hampson with an ankle injury and Ben Griffiths with a finger injury but said Ty Vickery would return from a two-match suspension.
He also said that talented midfielder Reece Conca was a big chance to play his first game of the season after winning 28 possessions at VFL level as he returned from hamstring problems that had bedevilled him all season.
"We were pretty happy with his form last week. He is an important player so once again it's a selection dilemma," Hardwick said.
The Tigers coach, who worked as an assistant at Hawthorn, said both teams were playing the best football he'd seen them play so the game should be high quality.
He said when the Tigers defeated the Hawks in two of their past three encounters they dominated in contested ball but he said that history would count for little on Friday night.
"There is a template there that we like but it is easier said than done. It's easy to have the answers but to get the equation [right] is probably the difficult thing against a quality side like Hawthorn," Hardwick said.