Reigning Jack Dyer medallist Daniel Jackson is no certainty to return for Richmond in Thursday night’s blockbuster clash with Carlton at the MCG.
Tigers coach Damien Hardwick was non-committal on Jackson’s availability before training on Tuesday. "He'll train today, he’s probably touch and go at this stage," he said.
"Has he done enough work, he’s probably done thereabouts, it's just whether we think one more week in the VFL will put him in good stead for round three, or we try and throw him in early."
Hardwick said forwards Aaron Edwards and Jake King were also in contention toplay against the Blues.
"Jake, he’s a chance, he’s done a truckload of work over the past three to four weeks and had a rest last week just in case we did need him for this week’s game," he said.
"Aaron Edwards played a lot of VFL footy and kicked six goals in his previous game so he’s put his hand up for selection."
The Richmond coach, yet to win a final entering his fifth season at the helm, did not downplay the challenge posed by Carlton, but was adamant the loss to the Blues in an elimination final last season would not provide added motivation this week.
"It seems a lifetime ago for me, we've just got to go about our business and worry about the way we play.
"It’s a big game, one we’ve certainly been looking forward to.
"They’re a formidable foe ... we've had some really close games over the past 12 to 24 months."
The Tigers lost two out of three clashes against Carlton last season, and have beaten their traditional rivals just once since the middle of 2008.
Pressed on just why the Tigers had such a poor record against the Blues, Hardwick was reluctant to pinpoint one particular cause.
“Things have let us down that haven’t normally let us down,” he said.
Hardwick said young duo Reece Conca and Brandon Ellis had both responded well to his public criticism of them following the side’s disappointing round one loss to the Gold Coast Suns.
"Yeah they’re fine, it’s a performance-based industry and nothing I said in the media they haven’t heard five times worse in this room right here, so they’re resilient young lads, they’re very good players and I’m sure they’ll put their best foot forward," he said.
Hardwick said it was crucial that his charges respond after the deflating loss of a fortnight ago.
"It’s an opportunity for our players to step up and play in front of big crowds ... we’ve got to make sure we start nailing these big games, and that way gain the momentum that takes us into the season. We don’t want to go back 0-2. We have to make sure we’re 1-1 and then attack the season from there.''
Hardwick said Jack Riewoldt was unlikely to play closer to goal against Carlton, despite many in the media questioning why the dual Coleman medallist had played so much up the ground.
"Jack will be playing exactly the same role as he played last year, in the forward half," Hardwick said.
Former Blue Shaun Hampson is set to line up against his old side for the first time, and Hardwick said that he had been picking the ruckman’s brain for intelligence on the Carlton game plan.
“We spent some time over summer getting some information out of him.”
The coach said he had been impressed with Hampson’s first-up effort in yellow and black.
“There weren’t many shining lights last week but there was definitely an advantage with him, his dominance out of the ruck and we’ve just got to start to use him around the ground.”
The story Daniel Jackson a chance to play against Carlton, says Richmond coach first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.