Hardwick relishes Suns dropping 'bomb' on Richmond

New Gold Coast Suns coach Damien Hardwick says the opening round clash against his old club Richmond next year will be a great way to start the season.

DAMIEN HARDWICK.
DAMIEN HARDWICK. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

New Gold Coast Suns coach Damien Hardwick has hailed next year's opening round home blockbuster against his old club Richmond as a beautiful "bomb".

Hardwick led the Suns on their first day of pre-season training on Monday, the first step in his quest to turn around 13 years of failure in which the club has failed to reach the AFL finals.

The three-time premiership winning Tigers coach was salivating at the prospect of welcoming Richmond to the Gold Coast on March 9.

"I reckon it is great. I think it is a great idea and (AFL CEO) Andrew Dillon has come in with a bomb," Hardwick said.

"The more we can promote the northern states (the better). The participation rate in Queensland is leading the country, which is awesome.

"We want to encourage that. We have four home-grown kids that we have brought into our footy club this year, which is incredibly exciting. We can't wait to show those kids off. Hopefully some of them are putting their hand up to play against Richmond."

Hardwick makes no bones about the fact he is planning to shock the visitors.

"Richmond are an incredible club. I was honoured to be a part of it but we can't wait to see them on our home deck and hopefully we get the win," he grinned.

Hardwick said the building blocks were in place to turn the Suns into a premiership force and pinpointed a key area that needed improvement to play finals.

"There are a lot of things. It's funny. We are always measured by the ladder," he said.

"That is ideal. It's the outcome, obviously. There are a lot of things that we do in the process of winning that we do really well here.

"(Former coach) Stuart Dew and his team did a terrific job with the contest and the defensive elements of the game plan. Offensively we could work some things we could do better. Most of the things are already in place so I am looking forward to what we can achieve.

"There are 17 other sides that want to make finals and challenge for premierships and we are no different."

The Suns have struggled to win the big moments in games that are often the difference between finals teams and also-rans.

"It is (about) playing those moments as well. Those moments are going to come, and they have come for us in the past and will in the future," he said.

"All we can do is educate the players the best we can, learn from our opportunities and, more importantly, grasp those opportunities when they come.

'We are looking forward to training some of those concepts within our sessions but more importantly, carrying them out in games."

Hardwick said high performance manager Alex Rigby had the players in great shape for day one of pre-season, while acknowledging how hard the players had worked.

"They are in real good nick. I couldn't be happier with how they have presented themselves for the start of pre-season," he said.

Hardwick said it would "take some time" for the players to adapt to his systems

"It will be a little bit clunky at the start but I was really happy with what we saw today," he said.

"Their endeavour is certainly there. The understanding and execution will come."