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Tom Lynch and Taylor Walker spark concerns for Tigers and Crows before AFL clashes

The Richmond star will play limited minutes on his return from injury against the Blues.

Richmond coach Adam Yze says star forward Tom Lynch will return to action this weekend against Carlton, however, his minutes will be limited as the club tries to manage his return from injury. This weekend's game will be Lynch's first since he was struck down by a serious foot injury in round four last season.

The Tigers will also be boosted by the return of Dustin Martin, captain Toby Nankervis and small forward Rhyan Mansell after they were all cleared to return alongside Lynch for Thursday night's blockbuster with the Blues at the MCG. Yze viewed the Opening Round match as "too high" of a risk for his returning stars as they had to back up five days later against the Blues. They will be eager to return to winning ways after their depleted team was beaten by 39 points by the Gold Coast.

Pictured left Tom Lynch and right Taylor Walker
Tom Lynch will make his Tigers return against the Blues but will be on limited minutes, while Crows star Taylor Walker is in doubt with a back injury. Image: Getty

"He (Lynch) would have struggled to get up for a five-day break. So the plan around him playing this game was just the smartest option. But he's got a good block of training," Yze said.

"But we've got to temper that with the fact that we're still going to manage him through his first game of footy for 12 months. So he's not going to have massive game time, he's going to be off the ground, which he's not gonna like.

"But ... he's too important for us to go out and string him out for 100 minutes of the game. But it's just good to have the big fella back."

Yze said their key forward will be on restricted minutes but still believes he will make a massive impact against Carlton. "He's a competitive guy that he'll want to have an impact on the game," Yze said.

"So he's ready to play, we'll just manage his game time. Not to say that he'll play 50 per cent because we need him out there a fair bit more than that."

MELBOURNE - APRIL 08: Tom Lynch of the Tigers celebrates a goal during the 2023 AFL Round 04 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Western Bulldogs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 8, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Tom Lynch of the Tigers celebrates a goal during the 2023 AFL Round 4 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Western Bulldogs. Image: Getty (Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Taylor Walker in doubt for Crows clash with the Suns

Adelaide are sweating on the fitness of forward Taylor Walker as the All-Australian continues to battle a back injury. Crows coach Matthew Nicks said a decision on whether he will play or not will be made on game day.

Walker has been sidelined for the past two training sessions and was restricted to light duties at Wednesday's main session ahead of the season opener against the Suns on Saturday night. Nicks said the 33-year-old's injury was minor and the decision whether or not to play will be up to Walker.

"We might have to leave that one until nearly a game-day decision," Nicks told reporters on Wednesday. "He's a professional, he's an experienced player. He's the one who knows best on whether he'll be right to play.

"And so in the end we'll consult and we'll talk through it but he'll make that decision on is he going to make the team better on the weekend and we'll leave that one really in his hands. He's confident that he's going to be OK but you just never know with these things, how they recover. We will watch him physically and we'll help him with that decision but ultimately he knows where he's at."

Matthew Nicks confident of a new deal at the Crows

Nicks is entering his fifth year as the coach of the Crows and comes off contract at the end of the season. But the Adelaide coach is confident that he will secure a fresh deal. "It would be nice to have a (new) contract done," Nicks said.

"But at the same time it hasn't been the focus for me or the footy club. The focus has been about the off-season, preparing, improving on last year. It (another contract) is still not really the focus at the moment but conversations are being had and there's no panic around that. That will look after itself and I'm confident we're on the same page from a point of view of what I'm looking for in the future and what the footy club wants to do."

Nicks said there are a lot of expectations for the Crows in 2023 and he is confident that Adelaide can return to the finals for the first time since losing the 2017 decider. "There's a lot of expectation out there, as there should be," he said.

"But at the same time ... you have got to earn the right to get in there. That's where we're at at the moment. We're a young side still, we're still developing ... but we're going to embrace the expectation."

with AAP

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