Star duo a huge boost for AFL Tigers

Star Richmond duo Jack Riewoldt and Brett Deledio will be on hand to help the under-siege Tigers attempt to get their AFL season back on track against Port Adelaide on Saturday night.

Coach Damien Hardwick is very confident Riewoldt will play despite badly rolling his ankle in last week’s loss to Melbourne.

He also confirmed Deledio will play his first AFL game of the season after overcoming a quad injury.

Riewoldt took part in a light training run on Thursday, with his potential availability a huge boost for Hardwick’s men as they look to improve on their miserable 1-4 start to the season.

“He pulled up remarkably well,” Hardwick told reporters on Thursday.

“Jack is very diligent in his recovery … he’s been at the club up and down, icing and all those sort of things that are required from a professional athlete.

“Jack has given himself every chance to play. He will do a limited amount today but once again he has put his hand up to play, which is great.

“I am very confident he will play.”

Deledio was a late withdrawal against the Demons, Hardwick deciding to err on the side of caution with his star veteran.

Deledio’s availability this week is crucial for the Tigers, who have managed just three wins in the past 14 games they have played in his absence.

But Richmond will miss the influence of star defender Alex Rance as he starts a two-match suspension for his ugly hit on Jack Watts.

Saturday night’s clash at the MCG is vital for both teams, who have failed to live up to expectations in the first five rounds of the season.

“It is a very important game this week … no doubt about that,” Hardwick said.

“Port Adelaide (2-3) will be saying exactly the same thing. We can’t keep giving sides three to four games head start then expect to try and reel them in.

“We’re going to put everything we are into this game.”

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