Deledio rules out AFL return this week

Richmond vice-captain Brett Deledio is at least another week from starting his AFL season.

The All-Australian star says kicking remains the stumbling block as he recovers steadily from a quad muscle injury.

Deledio has missed the opening three games and the misfiring Tigers badly need him back.

Saturday’s turnover-ridden loss to Adelaide left them with a 1-2 record and they now play West Coast on Friday night in Perth.

“I don’t think I will be playing this week, unfortunately,” Deledio told RSN927 on Tuesday.

“I’m certainly running really strongly and feeling as fit as I have for a long time.

“But I need to do more kicking at the moment and get myself right.

“Once I can kick flat-out on the run, I will be very comfortable and know I can come out there and perform my role.”

Deledio was also adamant there was nothing wrong with his calf or Achilles, saying the injury was high up on his quad.

It happened at training, a week before round one – about the same time he injured himself before the start of last season.

Deledio aggravated the problem in round one a year ago and this time, the Tigers are taking no chances.

“I just said to the docs, next year I’m not training two weeks out from round one.

“This is two years in a row I’ve caused myself a bit of mischief.”

He said the Tigers are not playing terribly but must stop making costly mistakes.

Turnover goals killed their chances of beating the Crows.

“I know it might sound hard to believe but we’re actually playing some reasonable footy, mistakes aside,” he said.

“We just have to eradicate these errors. It’s just individuals making errors at the wrong time.”

And Deledio is the latest Richmond figure to defend captain Trent Cotchin, who responded to last week’s widespread criticism by starring against Adelaide.

“How can Trent be solely responsible for every single player?” he said.

“We have … senior players out in positions out there on the field who need to take some responsibility.

“That’s basically been the discussions around the club.

“He’s a pretty strong character, Trent, it takes a lot to rattle him.”

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