There is a very quick turnaround for Richmond as they head into a clash with the ladder leaders in North Melbourne down in Hobart this Friday night. That possibly means that the team that beat Essendon last Saturday will stay relatively intact. However, there are a few players making a strong case for senior selection and others that may find their way back in after missing just the one week through either omission or injury.
Reece Conca may have only played two games at VFL level since coming back from injury, though they fell either side of the first of two byes. His form last Saturday afternoon though was nothing short of impressive. Richmond development coach Andrew McQualter referred to him as “probably our best midfielder for the day”. He was clean at the contest and made good decisions with the ball, netting 26 disposals, seven clearances, eight tackles and four centre clearances. Whether his improvement is enough to see him selected remains unknown or whether or not he would benefit from another week in the VFL. Although the midfield setup at Richmond seems rather settled, Conca has the ability to slot it and assimilate seamlessly with a youngster to be omitted if that eventuated.
Ivan Maric played his best game for the Richmond VFL side so far this season. He has 29 hit-outs, three clearances, four tackles and kicked a goal. A highlight of his game was his contest work and he provided aerial dominance in the ruck as well. It will be interesting to see if Richmond goes with the two ruck option. It would terribly unfortunate if Shaun Hampson made the way for Maric’s secondary senior return given he has produced some of his best form at AFL level across the past few weeks.
Troy Chaplin missed the game against Essendon in the previous round due to a hip injury. He faces a fitness test to be able to potentially play against North Melbourne this week. If he comes up this week, the omission in defence isn’t clear cut. The untimely injuries to the defensive pairing of Kamdyn McIntosh and Bachar Houli in recent weeks was well covered last Saturday night and perhaps including Chaplin in the 22 this Friday would be a bit of gamble.
Speaking of omissions, both Jayden Short and Connor Menadue were omitted from the game in the previous round. Menadue didn’t play in the VFL last Saturday night, so that’s a bit of an unknown. Short meanwhile, “...had a bit of frustrating game for us...” according to McQualter. He had plenty of disposals (20) and 13 uncontested possessions as well as three clearances. He didn’t do the basics well at times; he may or may not return to the senior team this Friday night as a result.
Who makes your best 22 for this Friday night?