It is foreseeable that Richmond would be unlikely to make any major changes to the team who beat Fremantle in trying conditions last Saturday night in Perth; especially given their VFL side had a bye last week. There are a couple of players though that they may come back into the team after missing the previous round – those being Daniel Rioli (who missed due to an ill family member) and Corey Ellis (who missed due to soreness). Who comes out for both though remains unknown at this stage. However, Ellis has been earmarked as Bachar Houli’s replacement as he continues to recover from an untimely wrist injury.
Two other players who may miss the game due to being on the wrong end of big hits in the wet conditions are Steven Morris (with concussion) and Troy Chaplin (with soreness). It would be a shame for Richmond to lose another defensive combination and Morris appears to have rediscovered his best form in recent weeks. If this was to happen, Ellis would most likely cover for one and perhaps it could be an opportunity for Dave Astbury to return to the senior team to cover, after being dropped in Round 7, to cover for the other. He has since played two games in the VFL prior to the bye last week and his most recent outing saw him take seven marks for the game, five of which were intercepts. He played a key defensive role and helped to stabilise the backline when the ball went inside the opposition’s (North Ballarat) forward 50 area. If he were to be included in the 22, he could do the job on Essendon’s Joe Daniher given the height differential between the two would work well – Daniher is 201cm and Astbury is 195cm – the tallest of Richmond’s defensive setup...just.
Trent Cotchin may also miss the game this Saturday night due to sickness. He is racing the clock to recover from a chest infection to be fit to play. It would be a real shame for the Captain to miss after only returning from a cheekbone fracture last week and netting a career-high 39 disposals. If he happens to miss the game, perhaps this would open the door for Jacob Townsend, who was an emergency last week and played so well in the VFL the week prior that he kept his North Ballarat opponent in Nick Rippon to just 10 disposals for the three quarters he played on him. He netted 25 disposals of his own and also had seven clearances and 17 tackles. It will be interesting to see what changes are made come this Thursday evening, but one can’t think it would be any sweeping changes for the 12th edition of the annual ‘Dreamtime at the G’.
Who makes your best 22 for Saturday night?