Richmond's looming ruck battle is over before it started, Shaun Hampson's long-term injury leaving recruit Toby Nankervis to claim the No.1 ruck mantle.
The Tigers announced on Thursday that Hampson had been placed on the long-term injury list with a back complaint that has hampered him over the pre-season.
The injury won't require surgery but the club has ruled him out of the early rounds of the season by placing him on the AFL list.
Nankervis arrived at Punt Road from Sydney at last year's trade period in exchange for a third-round draft pick.
The 22-year-old played 12 games in three years with the Swans, but has impressed coach Damien Hardwick with his physical approach.
The news is a bitter blow for Hampson, who was preferred over incumbent lead ruckman Ivan Maric last year.
In his third season since crossing from Carlton, the 28-year-old played 20 games, averaging 32 hitouts.
Maric managed just three games in 2016 and appeared on the way out of the club, but remains an option for Hardwick after he signed a one-year contract extension.
The Tigers didn't immediately elevate a rookie to replace Hampson, but exciting forward Jason Castagna is considered the front runner after his impressive pre-season game form.