Tigers ready for potential Vince tag

It was round four last year when Trent Cotchin was battered from pocket to post, prompting yet another round of debates on tagging in the AFL.

A year on and not much has changed.

This season it was Bernie Vince who kicked things off in round three, earning condemnation and compliments for his shutdown job on Adelaide superstar Patrick Dangerfield last Saturday.

Vince and Cotchin could well square off at the MCG on Friday night, when Richmond tackle Melbourne.

If such a match-up transpires, Tigers midfielder Anthony Miles is backing both Cotchin and his teammates to deal with it.

“Cotch has come a long way and he’s been able to work through some tags,” Miles said on Tuesday.

“As a midfield group, I feel we’ve also come a long way in helping him out – giving him the ball and just those little blocks around stoppages that can help him out.

“Hopefully we can give Cotch a bit of a chop out, if he does go to him.”

Miles praised the Demons’ “exceptional” pressure at Adelaide Oval, adding that their run of impressive first quarters had been spoken about at Punt Rd Oval.

Brett Deledio is no certainty to return from his calf issue, with Miles noting the vice-captain will be assessed later in the week.

“We missed him a bit the last couple of weeks. He’s a vital player to our side, so it’d be fantastic to have him back,” the 23-year-old said of the playmaker likened to a Mercedes-Benz by coach Damien Hardwick.

“I’d like to think we can continue to play good footy without him .. our depth was tested on the weekend and I think we stood up really well.”

One player who will be missing Friday night’s match is luckless Chris Knights, who faces 10-12 weeks on the sidelines.

Knights returned against Brisbane last Saturday night, playing his first AFL game since round seven of 2013.

The ex-Adelaide utility tweaked his hamstring in that match and requires tendon surgery, extending a terrible run with injuries.

“For him to go down, I think it’s hit the playing group really hard. Our thoughts are with Chris,” Miles said.

“He was pretty flat after the game.”

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