2008 Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney has issued a public apology to Richmond coach Damien Hardwick as part of the Herald Sun's mid-season review on the Tigers.

Richmond entered the bye with a 7-4 record in fourth place, and have remained inside the top four after both Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs lost in round 12.

The Tigers have one of the best defensive records in the league and their new look small forward line is causing significant problems for opposition backlines, and of course have been aided by the brilliant play of Dustin Martin all season long.

Hardwick's men are hitting the scoreboard more too, and have deserved every bit of their top four position at the midway point of the season, which is a position not many would have predicted before the year began.

Cooney admits he was a doubter of the Tigers like most, but has accepted he was wrong about Richmond and has now issued this public apology to Hardwick:

I’ve had an apology up my sleeve ready to fire out for the last month. Narrow losses to the Giants, Bulldogs and Freo kept it tucked away up there but I think I’m convinced now, so here it is:

Damian, I’m sorry.

Pre-season I questioned the lack of development and younger talent coming through, and the futures of Grigg, Houli and Ellis were up in the air. But the rejuvenation led by you to get the best out of those players, combined with the subtle shift in game plan — more direct ball movement with less meaningless disposals — and kids such as Butler, Castagna, Menadue and Short, has the Tigers on track for finals this year.

Dusty’s on fire, Cotchin is leading the way and all is looking positive. Dare I mention the possibility of a top-four berth?

Please, for the sake of the Tiggy train and my credibility, continue this great form in the back half of the year. Lord knows what may happen if you finish ninth after a terrific first half of 2017. Toot toot — I’m aboard.

It's quite brave of Cooney to apologise to Hardwick, but we couldn't help but think it could be a bit early in the season for something like this?