Tigers cross fingers for injury respite

AFL Rd 9 -  Richmond v Western Bulldogs
Maurice Rioli Jr was stretchered off late in the final quarter of Richmond’s loss to the Western Bulldogs with a suspected serious ankle injury. Picture: Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

Richmond will sweat over scans of Maurice Rioli’s ankle as the Tigers’ wretched injury run shows no signs of slowing down in their horror 1-8 start to the season.

Rioli’s injury late in the final quarter of the 91-point loss to the Western Bulldogs left him writhing in pain before he was stretchered off, but coach Adem Yze said there was still hope he may have only suffered a “rolled ankle”.

The incident came after a horror third-quarter marking contest collision in which Sam Banks was knocked out cold after he backed into the path of an oncoming Tim English and Noah Balta.

Replays were not shown on the broadcast or the MCG scoreboards after Balta appeared to push English under the ball before the Bulldogs ruck took out Banks’ legs from underneath him and he fell awkwardly into the turf.

AFL Rd 9 -  Richmond v Western Bulldogs
Sam Banks was knocked out in a brutal collision during the third quarter of Richmond’s loss to the Western Bulldogs but was on his feet on the boundary line at the end of the game. Picture: Darrian Traynor / Getty Images

Yze said the 21-year-old had been cleared of any other injuries from the incident but would enter concussion protocols.

“Banksy is up and about now – obviously he was concussed, so he’ll go into the protocols. It did look dangerous, but we’re glad to see him walking around,” Yze said.

“And then Maurice – we’re hoping it’s just a rolled ankle, but whenever there’s a rolled ankle it could be syndesmosis but we’ll just wait for the scan on that.

“He was trying so hard in that last quarter, so we gave him a bit of midfield exposure, which was nice, but then to see him get injured … we’ve got a few sore boys there.”

Senior midfielder Jack Graham returned to the side after missing a week with a hamstring complaint but was subbed out earlier in the third term with only seven disposals to his name after he again felt tightness in the same muscle.

AFL Rd 9 -  Richmond v Western Bulldogs
Tigers coach Adem Yze claims his side’s low tackle count against the Bulldogs was not a reflection of poor effort. Picture: Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

“Jack Graham just felt the same (as two weeks ago), felt tight (in) the same hammy, so we didn’t want to take any risk with that, but we’ll have to bite the bullet and he’ll be out for a week or two,” Yze said.

The Tigers coach disagreed that a low tackle count of only 46 was reflective of a sub-par effort against the Bulldogs despite their control of possession across the entire game.

I just spoke to the players … and I can’t fault our effort. We try, and our boys … it’s almost like they’re trying too hard, we’re slipping over and missing tackles,” he said.

I’ve said this over and over, but we can’t fault the effort, it’s just our execution and our tackle technique.

“Our attempted tackle (numbers) were OK, and then they just owned the ball a bit too much.

“I can see some frustration with our execution … I just don’t want that to dent our spirit.”