RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick is adamant he'll continue to go in to bat for his players amid queries over whether he gets too personal when publicly defending his charges.
Hardwick has received criticism after taking umbrage to Fox Footy commentator Jonathan Brown's suggestion out-of-form forward Tom Lynch be moved up the ground during Saturday's win over North Melbourne.
In his post-match press conference, Hardwick suggested Brisbane great Brown consider "putting his hand up to coach" as it was "easy to sit there and make judgement calls".
Hardwick previously had a crack at David Schwarz in August 2020 over comments the former Demons forward made about Lynch (watch in the player below), while he criticised Sydney counterpart John Longmire's defensive set-up after a game against Swans last July - though he later conceded the latter comments were out of line.
Hardwick on Wednesday emphasised that backing his players was a key part of his job.
"Not really my concern. My job is to support my players, end of story," Hardwick said.
"If people get sensitive to it then part and parcel of the job as far as I'm concerned.
"We're all big boys, I'm sure Jonno Brown's OK with it.
"He'll call me a dickhead the next time he sees me and I'll probably call him one as well - so we move on pretty quickly."
Friday's clash with GWS is crunch time for the Tigers, who sit two points behind the eighth-placed Giants with two games to play in the home-and-away campaign, as they attempt to keep their three-peat hopes alive.
Hardwick said the Tigers, winners of three of the past four grand finals, were "in a reasonable place with big-game experience" and felt they were hitting their straps ahead of Friday's "enormous challenge".
"There's been bits and pieces that have improved. There's been some inconsistency of performance - we'd obviously like to iron out those," he said.
"But we look at the way we've been playing there's been more Richmond-like performances - if that makes sense - in the way we've gone about the game and the way we've played.
"So look, ideally we'd still love to be in a little bit better shape than what we are at the moment but there's some things that we're doing in our game that we really like."
MEDICAL ROOM The full AFL injury list
Hardwick said defender Nathan Broad was "probably 50-50 to play again this year" after failing to pull up well in his recovery from a syndesmosis injury.
Wingman Kamdyn McIntosh is in contention to return from a hamstring injury, while Hardwick hinted debutant Maurice Rioli Jnr and fellow youngsters Hugo Ralphsmith and Thomson Dow would retain their spots.