Richmond coach Damien Hardwick says he hasn't spoken to former Essendon teammate James Hird since his AFL banishment - but he will soon.

Hardwick, a premiership player alongside Hird in 2000 with the Bombers, will lead the Tigers into battle against Essendon at the MCG on Saturday night.

With the Bombers thrown out of the finals as part of their supplements saga punishment, just what level of intensity Essendon will bring to their first match since the AFL hit them with the biggest penalties in the game's history is anyone's guess.

Hardwick says he'll contact Hird once the dust settles after a torrid few months culminating in his 12-month coaching ban this week for bringing the game into disrepute.

Hardwick admits he's sad about the plight his old club has faced this season, but is glad the matter has reached some level of conclusion before the finals.

"From my personal perspective, I'm just glad it's over. It's been a disappointing year from that point of view," Hardwick said on Thursday.

"We're just looking forward to getting on to the finals series and getting back to what makes our game great.

"I know some quality people there (at Essendon). It's an unfortunate situation and one we hope never happens again."

Hardwick has also appealed this week to Tigers fans not to subject Essendon players to boos, with skipper Jobe Watson having been singled out by West Coast and Carlton fans in recent matches.

"The Essendon players have been put in a situation they didn't want to be in, and I think it's unfair to single out players," he said.

"We just ask for respect from our fans as best we can, and let's just play the game."

Hardwick says the Tigers have no concerns about a probable change in opponents for week one of the finals, with the expected match-up against Port Adelaide unlikely now the Bombers have been thrown out of the top eight.

More likely is a showdown with Carlton, Brisbane, or even North Melbourne - and the Blues and Kangaroos have both beaten the Tigers this season.

"We were never certain about who we were going to play," Hardwick said.

"Our oppo (opposition) scouts are all over those sides that are below us. We'll just make our way through those ... we're happy with either."