Richmond coach Damien Hardwick is set to let his midfield stars go head to head with raging Brownlow Medal favourite Nat Fyfe when the Tigers face undefeated Fremantle at Subiaco on Friday night.
While Hardwick is weary of becoming too Fyfe conscious, the coach concedes the young midfield star will have a major impact on the clash.
“We will probably go head to head at this stage and see how it goes. If he gets out of hand, we will look at coming up with another plan,” Hardwick said on Thursday.
Skipper Trent Cotchin or star midfielder Brett Deledio could get the job of running head to head with the Dockers star, and fans will be hoping the contest rises to the same level as the brilliant individual clash between Fyfe and Adelaide’s Patrick Dangerfield last round.
“He is an incredible player (but) our midfield we will back in as well. So, very similar to last week with what Adelaide did, the fact of the matter is, even if you do tag him he is still capable of getting 20, 25 touches. We will have a number of options.”
Despite Fyfe’s incredible start to the season, Hardwick said the Tigers could not become too focused on the 23-year-old sensation.
“The system they play takes care of itself. If Fyfe is getting well held, they have enough players to take up the slack.
“For us, we will just worry about our process and systems in place and we will let our team defence take care of him. We are just going to assume that he is going to get 30 touches, we are going to make sure our guy gets 35.
“The great thing about the Fremantle midfield, from their point of view is you have Nat Fyfe, you have David Mundy and you have got Lachie Neale, all three guys are in incredible form. You can try and stop one but the other to two will get out of the loop at some stage.”
Tall forward Ty Vickery, who has had knee issues this season, travelled to Perth with the team and will be put to the test at the Tigers’ major training session at Subiaco on Thursday afternoon.
After a slow start to the season, the Tigers have won their last three games and Hardwick said they were keen to test their form against the undefeated Dockers.
“A side that is undefeated, there is probably no bigger challenge, especially at Subiaco. The great thing for us is that we play pretty well over there, we have done reasonably well over the time that I have been here and we are a team that travels well.
“We relish the opportunity … we are looking to thrive on the challenge.”