Richmond are increasingly confident that important duo Shane Edwards and Shaun Grigg have recovered from injury in time to take on Carlton in the AFL season opener on Thursday night.
Clevewr utility Edwards suffered what looked like a serious shoulder injury in the final round of the pre-season competition against Port Adelaide, while hard-running Grigg broke his left thumb on what appeared to be shaping up as a calamitous night for the Tigers.
But the prognosis for Edwards was much better than first feared – he was found to have only suffered severe bruising and swelling in his left shoulder, rather than a broken collarbone.
Grigg has recovered faster than expected and is a good chance to take the field against the team where he started his AFL career.
But another former Blue, Chris Yarran (foot surgery), and luckless utility Reece Conca (hamstring) face extended spells on the sidelines.
Champion Richmond defender Alex Rance said the match against the Power had initially seemed like a “perfect storm”.
“But we believe in the depth we’ve got at the club,” he said.
“We’ve got a few injuries, but other clubs have got injuries too.
“That’s something you’ve got to cope with throughout the whole season.
“I don’t think it’s worrying us too much.”
The Blues are certain to include several new faces for the round-one clash at the MCG, including impressive No.1 draft pick Jacob Weitering and former Crow Sam Kerridge, both of whom have excelled throughout the NAB Challenge.
“It’s going to be exciting to see what they can dish up,” Rance said before training on Sunday.
“We’ve seen with their pre-season games, obviously they’ve got a pretty handy No.1 draft pick who has taken a lot of intercept marks and has been pretty good for them.
“They’ve got a new coach (Brendon Bolton) as well, so we definitely won’t be rolling in thinking it’s going to be an easy win.”