Tigers must find AFL spark: Riewoldt

Richmond aren’t playing well and the players are down on confidence but all it takes is an elusive spark to ignite their sputtering AFL season, according to Jack Riewoldt.

Riewoldt, who is battling an ankle injury to take part in Richmond’s crucial clash with Port Adelaide on Saturday night, is adamant the Tigers (1-4) can replicate the heroics of the past three seasons, where they’ve overcome poor starts to play finals.

“Obviously we’re not playing the way that we want to play … it’s really hard at the moment – we’re playing sub-standard footy for us,” Riewoldt told Fox Footy.

“And we’ve got a lot of guys who are down on confidence.

“We need to find that spark and we need to get back to the team that won 15 games last year and was a really good team over the season.

“We need the younger guys to step up and we need some of the middle tier guys to help the leaders out.

“We’re trying our hardest – we don’t go out on the weekend and not try our hardest.”

Playmaker Brett Deledio might just provide that spark after he was declared a certainty to play his first game of the season on Tuesday night, having recovered fully from a quad injury.

Riewoldt has undergone intensive icing treatment on his left ankle after rolling it badly late in Sunday night’s loss to Melbourne.

He admitted it was still a bit swollen on Tuesday night and is considered a 50-50 prospect to take on the Power.

Demons midfielder Tom Bugg was fined $1000 for shoving Riewoldt as he attempted to leave the ground. The Tigers spearhead said that Bugg had texted him after the game to apologise for the unsportsmanlike act.

Alex Rance will miss the next two games after accepting a suspension for dropping a forearm into the back of Jack Watts’ head in the at-times spiteful encounter.

Rance apologised publicly for the act on Tuesday.

“He’s a very proud man and a very honest man,” Riewoldt said of his teammate.

“He was really disappointed that he’d put himself in that situation … it’s a really disappointing and ugly look for the game and he’s owned up to that.

“It takes a pretty honest man to own up, he didn’t have to do it … I’m proud of him as a teammate to step up and own the act that he did.”

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