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Why Damien Hardwick has been ‘avoiding’ Dion Prestia this week

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Richmond coach Damien Hardwick admits he’s been keeping a wide berth from star midfielder Dion Prestia this week.

It comes after Sam McClure revealed the Richmond coach had a “tough conversation” with the reigning best and fairest winner about not picking him for the bushfire relief game.

Six Tigers will play in the match next Friday.

But their reigning club champion won’t be one of them.

“I avoided Dion like you wouldn’t believe this week,” Hardwick told 3AW.

“I gave him the old ‘you’re in my side, but not the other blokes’.

“It’s so hard. It was amazing when you sit there and try to piece together a side, the quality of players we’ve got in this league is staggering.

“The players that were left out I felt incredibly embarrassed about, but trying to pick one player to replace another, it was quite easy to do, but I think the players we picked really deserved it.”

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