Damien Hardwick wants the AFL to ban clubs from speaking to contracted players. Source: Julian Smith / AAP.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has slammed rival clubs for pursuing star defender Alex Rance in the middle of the season.

Hardwick claimed that the constant pressure on out of contract players is having a negative impact on the players and clubs.

The Richmond coach said that the AFL should ban clubs talking to out of contract players until the trade period opens at the end of the season.

The former Essendon and Port Adelaide player slammed the current situation, before cutting short his media conference this morning.

“Other clubs shouldn’t be talking about Eddie Betts, Alex Rance Patrick Dangerfield [or] Rory Sloane. It’s inappropriate as far as I’m concerned,” Hardwick said.

“From our point of view there is a trade period and a free agency period at the end of the year and this is where all this should be taken care of.

“It’s just ridiculous we’re talking about contracted players. We shouldn’t be talking about wanting to have players come to our footy club.”

Read more at www.afl.com.au