Returning duo give Tigers post-bye boost

AFL Rd 16 - Brisbane v Richmond
Richmond midfielder Jacob Hopper is set to return from a knee injury against Melbourne on Wednesday night. Picture: Russell Freeman / Getty Images

Richmond is poised to regain two important senior players for the Anzac Day Eve clash against Melbourne after Dylan Grimes and Jacob Hopper got through training on Monday.

The availability of Grimes (wrist) and Hopper (knee) will provide a welcome reprieve for first-year coach Adem Yze after the Tigers went into the bye with one-third of its senior players on the injury list.

Grimes could be sent to Melbourne star Bayley Fritsch on Wednesday night after his absence was felt keenly when Eagle Jake Waterman piled on a career-high six goals in the Tigers’ 39-point defeat to West Coast in round 5.

Teammate Jack Graham said the pair both looked on track to return against the Demons as he insisted the Tigers still had faith in their medical staff despite the horror run of injuries.

AFL Richmond v Fremantle
Richmond triple premiership defender Dylan Grimes is set to return from a wrist injury against Melbourne on Wednesday night. Picture: Mark Stewart

“They both trained (Monday), looked good, so hopefully they pull up all right and I’m pretty sure they’ll put their hands up for selection,” Graham said.

“I’m not too sure (what can be done better), the medical staff, they do a great job, but unfortunately sometimes luck just doesn’t go your way.

“Poor Tim (Taranto) did it (broke his wrist) in the last five seconds of training, so however you can manage that or fix it, I’m not sure. There's huge trust in our medical staff, and we’ll back them in.”

Graham said he had spent the bye week in Mandurah after Kamdyn McIntosh invited him, Liam Baker and captain Toby Nankervis to join him in his WA hometown.

AFL Rd 4 - Richmond v St Kilda
Adem Yze will coach Richmond against his former side for the first time when the Tigers meet Melbourne on Anzac Day Eve. Yze played 271 games for the Demons and was an assistant under Simon Goodwin for the 2021 flag. Picture: Sarah Reed / Getty Images

“It was good, a couple of days to just refresh … (after) a disappointing loss. Yze just wanted us to go away, refresh, get back to what we love doing,” Graham said.

“A few boys playing golf, a couple of boys stayed back in the West, and now have come back, trained hard, and ready to execute on Wednesday night.

He said Yze’s intimate knowledge of the Demons from his time there as a senior assistant had the Tigers feeling well prepared to face the sixth-placed side.

“Just some of their ball movement, what they want to do at stoppages and all that, how they might flip a couple of certain players … he’s given us a good insight in how we’re going to tackle that,” Graham said.

“There’s been a bit of banter during the week … about (Yze) trying not to call them by their nicknames. I think there’s a $50 fine every time he says ‘Trac’ or ‘Maysie’, so he might be up to about $200.”