Brett Deledio’s calf injury is set to rule the influential Richmond midfielder out for another two AFL matches.
Last week, coach Damien Hardwick said the Tigers were confident that the durable Deledio would return for Friday night’s meeting with Melbourne.
But without progress in his rehabilitation, Hardwick said Deledio would be watching on Friday night from the stands and was glum on his chances for the Tigers’ round-five match with Geelong.
“He’s probably unlikely next week also … it’s been a bit of a painful process for us,” he said.
Deledio hasn’t increased his training load since hobbling off in Richmond’s round-one win over Carlton.
Hardwick said his spirits hadn’t dropped despite the prospect of missing a month of football.
“The good thing about Brett is he’s probably flat on the inside you wouldn’t know on the outside,” he said.
“He’s got a bit of FOMO disease – fear of missing out.
“He’s texting the players constantly on the weekend finding out what’s going on, which just shows his love of the game, his love of the club.”
Richmond’s record without Deledio in the side is poor.
In six games missed since 2007, the Tigers have won just two – both against Brisbane – meaning they’ll have to break new ground on Friday night.
Against Melbourne, Richmond are also keen to erase the memory of one of their worst losses of 2014.
The Tigers were pitiful in their 17-point loss to Paul Roos’ side last year, which came in their tribute match to coaching legend Tom Hafey.
Hardwick said the team knew what to expect against Roos – a “12 goals to 10” style slog.
“We know it’s going to be a high-tackle, high-stoppage, high-contested game,” he said.
“They’re a really good opposition that is coming forward in leaps and bounds.
“We’re just looking forward to making sure we match their intensity early … and then get the game on our terms after that.”
Hardwick side said he wasn’t among critics of Demons tagger Bernie Vince’s role on Patrick Dangerfield last week.
“I enjoyed it,” he said.
“Bernie’s a hard tough player, he plays his footy the way I like it to be played.”
Vince is almost certain to get the job on Tigers skipper Trent Cotchin, who was best afield in the big win over Brisbane.