“He is just going to grow into the role. I am loathed to say it but he does remind me of a young Alex Rance. Look at the way he plays the game and he does some things only players like him (Rance) can do and then make a mistake like only him and Alex can do.
“He is only going to get better as the season goes,. It is up to Noah how far he wants to go he has certainly got the talent and athletic traits to do it.”
Hardwick praised his captain Trent Cotchin in his return game from a hamstring injury saying his physical presence around the ball was a noticeable difference.
He said Cotchin would miss a game either this week or the following week in the condensed season given his injury history. The decision on when he is rested would be made by the medical and fitness staff not the coaches.
Harwick welcomed Richmond’s performance against the Bulldogs.
“There’s been some areas of our game we have been dominant in but we haven’t cashed in on the scoreboard. It looked like a Richmond game tonight but we finally got some scoreboard dividend,” he said.
“Especially with our forward half turnover game – I think we kicked eight goals from forward half which is generally how we score. Weeks previous we have been a bit slow.”
He was excited at Riewoldt’s return to form.
“I looked at Jack’s game tonight and I thought he was back. He just didn’t quite get the looks that he needed sometimes, he had a great performance him and Tim really stood up for us,” he said.
The Bulldogs will now likely drop out of the eight by the end of the round with a percentage of just 93.7. And they lost Matthew Suckling to a hamstring injury in the first quarter.
Dogs coach Luke Beveridge said the side had not been playing well even when they had won games and Wednesday night was a sobering experience.
“Tonight our first half was a little bit of a disaster unfortunately … we over-used the ball a bit by hand and allowed them to get momentum. I was pleased we halved the second half but it was a sub-par performance from us even though I don’t think we have been playing that well,” Beveridge said.
Michael Gleeson is an award-winning senior sports writer specialising in AFL and athletics.