Coach Damien Hardwick says it's time for Richmond to become contenders, not pretenders, ahead of their trip to the Gold Coast, but added injured skipper Jack Riewoldt was unlikely to return.
The Tigers' clash against the Suns is their final road trip before they finish with seven straight games at the MCG, where they have a 4-2 record this season.
The run home includes clashes against top four sides Collingwood, GWS and West Coast. But if Richmond claim fourth they could force ladder leaders Geelong to host their first final at the MCG to accommodate ticket demand.
The 2017 premiers are seventh on the ladder and Hardwick said it was time to prove they're flag contenders again, starting with a dominant performance against the bottom-placed Suns on Saturday.
"They are a proud footy club starting to find their way in the AFL world and get enormous respect from us," Hardwick said.
"It's an important game, there's no doubt. We're coming into the back of the year where the contenders and pretenders start to get found out.
"We haven't played our best footy thus far … We know when we play our best footy we're very hard to beat and it's up to us to play our best footy and gain that respect back.
"There are some sides that are playing some better football than us at the moment, we certainly know our best football is in front of us.
"I think there's a little bit of the players wanting to get back up on that upper echelon."
Hardwick admitted Riewoldt was desperate to play this week but said the skipper would likely be given another week to recover from a PCL injury that has kept him sidelined since round six.
"He's harassing me at the moment, Jack," Hardwick said.
"It's looking unlikely at this stage but we'll see how he trains, there is a small chance. With aRead More – Source