Hardwick fumes after 'horrible' Tigers fall to Bombers
Horrible, diabolical, horrendous ... Dreamtime was a nightmare for Richmond coach Damien Hardwick.
The Tigers coach did not mince his words on Saturday night after Essendon rallied from three goals down early in the last quarter to win their AFL Dreamtime At The 'G clash by a point.
The 10.11 (71) to 10.10 (70) victory means Richmond's 13-game winning streak over the Bombers is over and, once again, their season is on a knife's edge.
Last week's upset win over Geelong is a distant memory, with Richmond 14th on the ladder.
"It was a horrible game by us ... to give up 142 uncontested marks was just diabolical," Hardwick said.
"We just couldn't get the ball back, which is incredibly frustrating.
"It was wasn't helped by the fact that offensively, we just gave the ball back - 36 giveaway turnovers in the front half is just horrendous by nature."
When it was noted that despite all that, the Tigers were still 18 points ahead early in the last quarter, Hardwick shot back with, "...but playing incredibly poorly".
"We just couldn't fundamentally do anything overly well ... we just couldn't get anything on our terms," he added.
"We should be better than where we're positioned on the ladder. I have to take some responsibility for that, but as a playing group we do have to also.
"We've got to get to work - the season's still alive."
Rhyan Mansell had a shot at goal late in the game that could have sealed it for Richmond, but it went out on the full.
"He's one of those guys who tries his backside off," Hardwick said.
"At least he put himself in the position to have the shot on goal."
Hardwick also revealed that veteran forward Jack Riewoldt probably should not be playing, but the long-term injury to Tom Lynch means the Tigers have no choice.
"Jack's battling his backside off ... he probably shouldn't be playing, he's incredibly sore," Hardwick said.
"He's tough. He's putting his hand up to play because I need him.
"But we need more."