Tigers nearing full strength
RICHMOND is set to welcome back AFL premiership duo Dion Prestia and Nathan Broad while Reeca Conca will play in the VFL just six weeks after dislocating his ankle.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has confirmed Prestia (ribs) and Broad (calf) will return to face Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium on Saturday.
Bachar Houli (groin) and Jack Graham (shoulder) are also available for senior selection while Conca will play a half in the reserves.
“All those guys will train today and we’ll make some calls on our side later this afternoon … we’re in a good situation now with some troops back so we’re looking forward to those guys putting their hand up,” Hardwick said on Thursday.
“We had some guys that played certainly some really good football last week. It’s tough this time of year.
“You’re trying to get your side ready for the game at hand and some players are going to miss out.”
Second-gamer Liam Baker could lose his spot despite a solid start to his AFL career, while Connor Menadue and Sam Lloyd have been in and out of the senior side.
Premiership forward Dan Butler, who has not played since injuring his ankle in round 16, is also nearing a return that would add to the Tigers’ selection squeeze.
Hardwick is confident the planned changes won’t be too disruptive for the Tigers, who sit four points clear at the top of the ladder.
“The tight-knit system that we play, those guys step in pretty well,” Hardwick said.
“I’m not too concerned by having too many changes.”
Saturday’s clash looms as a golden chance for the Tigers to claim a long-awaited interstate win, having lost all four games on the road this season.
The 17th-placed Suns copped a 96-point thrashing from Melbourne last week but should be strengthened by the return of captain Steven May, David Swallow and Rory Thompson.
“The side that was taken apart last week won’t be the side that goes out there this week,” Hardwick said.
“We certainly know that if they win contested ball, they win ball games. They’ve won that stat four times and they’ve won all those four games.
“They’ll be smarting a little bit, on their home deck, so we’ve got to make sure we come to play.”
© AAP 2018