North Melbourne insist ruckman Todd Goldstein will play against Richmond in Friday night’s AFL fixture in Tasmania.
The ace ruckman has been in doubt with a knee injury but the Kangaroos named him for the Hobart game against the unchanged Tigers.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick rates Goldstein the competition’s premier ruckman ahead of the first Friday night game in Tasmania.
“He’s a significant player … he’s the best ruckman, in my opinion, in the league,” Hardwick said.
“It probably does change their prep but the fact of the matter is they’re sitting on top of the ladder for a reason and it’s not just because of one player.
“They’re an incredible outfit.”
North added Mason Wood to its squad, with Trent Dumont, who appeared in an Adelaide court last Wednesday over an alleged taxi theft, being dropped.
Hardwick’s Richmond take three consecutive wins into the encounter but the Tigers boss says he has a challenge to control North’s tall attackers Jarrad Waite, Drew Petrie and Ben Brown.
“The big one for us is their key forwards have probably been dominant at various stages,” Hardwick said.
“Not all of them (together) but one has probably grabbed hold of us at different stages.
“If we can keep those guys under wraps (great) but the reality is it’s going to be won or lost in the midfield. Contested ball is going to be big this week, as are clearances.”