RICHMOND is adamant that assistant Adam Kingsley will remain at the club until its 2021 campaign is finished, with coach Damien Hardwick challenging his players to ensure that won't happen before September.
As reported on AFL.com.au earlier last week, Kingsley has established himself as one of the frontrunners for the vacant Collingwood coaching job having helped the club to successive premierships in his first two seasons at Punt Road.
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However, Hardwick insisted Kingsley will remain with the Tigers until season's end regardless of whether he wins the Pies coaching gig beforehand, with the club still holding out hope that its season will be extended into finals.
Richmond's dismal run of form had earlier continued against Geelong, with a disappointing 38-point defeat leaving the Tigers on the cusp of finishing the weekend four points and a significant percentage gap from eighth spot.
"Absolutely (he'll stay)," Hardwick said of Kingsley afterwards.
"He's a contracted coach for us and that's the way it operates from our point of view. He'll stay with us until we're finished."
Having claimed three of the last four premierships, Richmond faces a new challenge altogether in the last month of the home and away campaign as the Tigers seek to work their way back into the AFL's top-eight.
But despite losing five of their last six matches, Hardwick is not giving up hope of a finals berth just yet and urged his players to prove their September mettle starting with a road trip against Fremantle at Optus Stadium next week.
"At the end of the day, we're a chance," Hardwick said.
"You just keep going. You just keep pushing up the mountain, so to speak. It's quite easy to give up, but the tough clubs will keep going and that's what we're trying to do. We'll keep pushing for our fans, players, families and for the organisation.
"We'll push until that flame is extinguished. That's what Richmond does. We'll just keep pushing ourselves as hard as we can to get to finals. It's an enormous challenge, but there's no doubt we're up for it.
"We've been in challenging situations before and this is another one of those. It's a measure of us, so we'll see how we go."
Richmond, which is set to fly to Western Australia on Sunday evening and spend the week in quarantine ahead of next weekend's clash, is hopeful midfielder Dion Prestia will return from a hamstring injury for the Fremantle match.
But there are question marks over whether defender Nathan Broad will feature following a syndesmosis injury, despite the triple-premiership player making the trip to Western Australia.
"Dion played half a scrimmage match today, so he'll be available," Hardwick said.
"Nathan will head over, but he hasn't trained at this stage. He's moving pretty well, but I'd say he's a slight chance to play. Once again, we'll make that assessment during the week but he's going to give himself every chance I would feel.
"He's been very diligent in his rehab, so he'll put his hand up. I've got no doubt."
Geelong's victory continued its stellar run of form, with five successive goals in the second quarter helping the Cats notch a 10th win from their last 11 games to edge ever closer to the minor premiership.
The only concern came when skipper Joel Selwood was forced to be substituted out of the game in the third quarter, having copped a nasty corkie to his quad in the game's early stages.
But the club believes Selwood could still be fit for next Saturday's clash with North Melbourne, where veteran Shaun Higgins is also likely to return from knee soreness for his 250th match.
"Joel got a cork and tried to go on, but the medical staff said he couldn't keep going," Geelong coach Chris Scott said.
"As always with these things, the time to discuss and get detail is well and truly post-game. Not in the moment.
"We're confident that Shaun will be right (next week). His knee flared up, but the assumption is that will settle pretty quickly. I couldn't say definitively right at the moment."