Cotchin to miss Tigers AFL date with Swans

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick is yet to give up on the Tigers’ AFL campaign, hoping that one contest, one quarter or one win could spark their season.

The Tigers are searching for just a second win of the season and face a tough ask when Sydney visit the MCG on Saturday night.

The challenge has been intensified with news that inspirational skipper Trent Cotchin, who is recovering from a broken cheekbone, will miss the match.

Hardwick said previous slow starts under his tenure gave him the confidence the often-frustrating Tigers would snap into gear.

“We’ve been in this situation before. We’ve been resilient by nature,” he said.

“Sometimes it’s really difficult to see where that next win comes but it can quite easily turn at the flick of a switch.

“I can feel it’s coming. We’ve just got to make sure we believe in ourselves and have the confidence to play to the best of our ability.

“At this stage though it’s all words so we’re looking forward to some actions on the weekend.”

Cotchin was slated to return against the high-flying Swans but failed to get clearance from his surgeon.

“You’ve got to take the surgeon’s word, the player will always put their hand up to play. They’re courageous, especially Trent,” Hardwick said.

“We were hoping he’d be available to play but it does take a little bit of time.

“It’s disappointing. We haven’t got a great player playing. Trent can’t help this week so we get another soldier.”

Key defender Alex Rance isn’t a like-for-like replacement for the inside midfielder but Hardwick is relieved to add the backman to his lineup, given Lance Franklin’s Coleman Medal-winning form.

“(Lance)’s been terrific. The AFL’s number one target inside 50. They go to him a lot,” he said.

“We’re very fortunate we’ve got a very good player in Alex Rance coming back to help us combat that.”

Hardwick said he would also appreciate getting Rance out of his hair now that a two-week suspension has lapsed.

“He’s been a nuisance,” Hardwick said.

“We love his energy … he generally takes it out on games but he’s been taking it out on us coaches the last two weeks.”

There won’t be support from ruckman Ivan Maric, who will continue in the VFL as he overcomes a back injury.

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