RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick has called on umpires to give Toby Nankervis a fair go, claiming the premiership ruckman is being treated harshly by whistleblowers.
Nankervis gave away a game-high six free kicks in last week's upset loss to North Melbourne, which left the Tigers precariously placed in eighth spot.
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The triple-premiership big man did not receive a single whistle his way, and was also reported over contact with the Kangaroos' Flynn Perez.
The report was later thrown out by the AFL's Match Review Officer.
Nankervis is on the wrong end of a 22-49 free-kick count this season, which includes a 1-13 tally over the last four weeks.
Hardwick said the Tigers took their gripes to the AFL umpiring department this week.
"The fact of the matter is Toby gives away a free kick and sometimes the opposition don't," Hardwick said on Wednesday.
"The same thing happens from time to time.
"We look at players walking across the line every time during the round and there's 50 of those a game, and Toby got pinged for three of them.
"We spoke to the umpiring department about that and hopefully we've got a better result this week.
"At the end of the day, they (the AFL) accept mistakes are made, like we do as coaches as well.
"Toby gets done for a report and a 50-metre penalty that gets withdrawn ... you know, he gets treated harshly."
Nankervis faces a huge battle against rising Fremantle ruck force Sean Darcy at Marvel Stadium on Friday night in a contest that will help shape both sides' finals prospects.
Richmond have lost three of its last four matches, with poor goalkicking costing them dearly over the past fortnight in defeats to Gold Coast and North Melbourne by a combined margin of just six points.
"We're always in the fight," Hardwick said.
"We're not going to win every game but we give ourselves a chance to win every game.
"We don't win by huge amounts and we don't get beaten by huge amounts ... but we're just not quite getting the reward I think we deserve at the moment.
"Sometimes that's due to your own luck. We've got some things in our game that we certainly need to fix but we think they're fixable."
Hardwick is hopeful Richmond stars Dustin Martin and Tom Lynch will return from their respective hamstring injuries against Brisbane in round 20.
The pair have already been ruled out of the Fremantle clash.