Already boasting inclusion of ace defensive recruit Troy Chaplin for his first outing in Tigers colours, Hardwick’s increased midfield pressure is in early evidence.
A new-look Tigers hardness in what experts refer to as “mid-pressure” for ball-winning acts between the respective 50m arcs in games is understood to have rivalled Collingwood and Carlton for scoring efficiency from turnovers around midfield.
Ironically, forcing turnovers around midfield and then scoring from the earned possession was a hallmark of Collingwood's 2010 premiership campaign under then coach Mick Malthouse.
Malthouse appears to be attempting to orchestrate similar game tactics into his new-look Blues as the leaders in this summer's NAB Cup series with high percentages of scores from winning midfield contested possession as well as scoring from turnovers.
Richmond’s increased pressure around congestion in the midfield bolsters prospects of winning ball from contests as well as forcing opposition turnovers and rushing the football into scoring zones with dangerous forwards Jack Riewoldt and Ty Vickery lurking around goal.
The Tigers will further expose their new-found aggressive midfield policy against some of the game's finest exponents of talents around the ball with Hawk veterans Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis and Shaun Burgoyne all listed to play at Aurora Stadium on Saturday.
Chaplin bolsters the Tigers defence for his first time since crossing from struggling outfit Port Adelaide as an historic free-agent last October.
The tough-nut key defender won't have to confront dangerous Hawks powerhouse forward Lance Franklin who has been rested from NAB duty for the trip to Launceston.
Franklin and dangerous small forward Cyril Rioli were both left out of the Hawks squad.
The Tigers have won two of their three NAB Cup engagements so far only dropping one of their opening week triangular outings to North Melbourne by just four points.
The Tigers then held on in thriller at Wangaratta last week before heading back on the road again this time to Launceston for a clash with Hawks, who have not won a NAB Cup appointment.