“Our ball movement will certainly help but people are very quick to jump on a champion’s back,” Hardwick said.
“People forget he kicked five goals in a grand final and that’s the biggest stage.
“He’s a very, very good player and the key forwards in general have been struggling throughout the league at the moment.
“The sky certainly isn’t falling down from our point of view.”
He admitted Richmond was vulnerable to sides with hard running wing men such as Hawthorn’s Isaac Smith who was best on ground in the defeat of Richmond last week. St Kilda’s Bradley Hill will therefore be of particular concern this week.
“Wings always have a good game against us, we play a certain style and we are happy with our system,” Hardwick said.
“There will be no changes there, we would like them [the wings] to be a little less dominant but we know it’s going to happen at certain stages.
“It’s cost-benefit from our point of view. Sides will get an advantage in one area and we will get it in another. That’s the way we play and we are prepared to back our system.”
The Tigers are confident a week of rest plus continued treatment or pain relief will allow Martin to play.
“(Dusty) is such an important player for us, with the way we play, we just had to make sure he was right,” Hardwick said.
“The significance of how he plays, he’s a bit of a barometer for us as well so we have to make sure he can play at the best of his ability.
“Ribs are really difficult at various stages. There are times you can numb the pain and times you can’t quite get the spot to stick.
“The week off will help, will it dramatically help? Possibly. But he will be better for the week off.”
Hardwick said Baker was missed during last week’s loss to Hawthorn.
“He will play his week, we missed Liam last week as he’s very important to the way we structure up and the way we play,” Hardwick said.
Bennell played in the Demons’ round two win over Carlton but has been dropped for Sunday’s game against Geelong. The Dees didn’t play last week because of Conor McKenna’s positive coronavirus test.
Carlton have lost Harry McKay to soreness for their meeting with the Bombers. The Blues have named youngster Sam Philp for his first game. The Dons have regained Orazio Fantasia from injury.
GWS have dropped four players including off-season recruit Sam Jacobs for Friday night’s match with Collingwood. The Giants have lost both their games since the resumption of the season. The Pies have included Mason Cox to replace Darcy Cameron.
Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter