MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 17: Jack Riewoldt, Tigers head coach Damien Hardwick and Trent Cotchin are seen during the Richmond Tigers AFL Team Photo Day on February 17, 2017 at Punt Road Oval in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Richmond fans will be hoping for far better results this year than in 2016, after finishing 13th, with just eight wins last season, despite three consecutive finals appearances from 2013-15.

It is a make or break season for coach Damien Hardwick after a hugely disappointing year.

However, it might not fill Tigers’ fans with optimism to know that their coach wants the side to “become more childlike” in 2017.

However, Hardwick says the mantra is simple for his side this season. “Just play”. The former Essendon and Port Adelaide player believes his players need to play on instinct this year to get back to winning ways and playing finals footy.

“You think about when you’re a kid, funnily enough it’s when you have the most fun … you just play,” Hardwick told

“We’ve brought players here who are incredibly talented kids and they’re all filled with key strengths, so I just want them to play and play good footy.

“The fact of the matter is they’ve got to become more childlike to do it. Hopefully it works.”

Richmond has added some serious talent to its midfield group in 2017, recruiting Josh Caddy and Dion Prestia to help the likes of Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin on the ball.

Ruckman Toby Nankervis was also brought in from Sydney and is set to push Shaun Hampson for the No.1 ruck spot.

While Hardwick is contracted until the end of 2018, after signing a two-year extension at the start of 2016, he may not see out his contract if the side struggles once again this season.

The Tigers won their opening JLT Community Series match against Adelaide by 19 points last Friday night, before matches against the Power this Sunday and Collingwood next Saturday.