Richmond’s hopes of salvaging an AFL season fast slipping into an abyss have been dealt an immense blow, with captain Trent Cotchin to miss the next fortnight.
Cotchin will undergo surgery on Monday to fix a fractured cheekbone that he suffered early in Saturday night’s loss to Port Adelaide.
The Tigers, reeling after a 1-5 start to the year, will sorely miss their skipper against Hawthorn and Sydney.
Cotchin is no guarantee to return in round nine, when the Tigers face Fremantle in Perth.
Suspended All-Australian defender Alex Rance will also sit out Friday night’s clash with the Hawks.
On top of filling the immense void left by two of their best players, coach Damien Hardwick must also find a replacement for midfielder Kane Lambert.
Lambert is set to miss the next three or four rounds of the season, with scans confirming he has a punctured lung and cracked rib.
Lambert was taken to hospital on Saturday night, having reported breathing difficulties after a painful collision at the MCG.
The 24-year-old, playing his 19th game, was inadvertently crunched by Port Adelaide’s Brad Ebert in a first-quarter marking contest.
Lambert was one of Richmond’s best in their only win of the season, a round-one victory over Carlton.
Hardwick noted on Saturday night the absence of injured pair Nick Vlastuin and Dylan Grimes was already stretching his side.
“We’re probably missing that next tier of core players,” Hardwick said.
“We’re missing a couple of those guys that are really important pieces of the puzzle for us.
“We’re probably asking guys to step up a little bit above their pay grade at the moment”