Chris Newman with the footy for the Tigers against the All Stars on Friday night
RICHMOND will field a considerably-stronger team for week one of the pre-season cup, in stark contrast to the combination that was no match for the AFL Indigenous All Stars.
The Tigers were never in the hunt on Friday night at Alice Springs, losing the exhibition match by 50 points.
Captain Trent Cotchin did not end up playing and he joined a long list of sidelined players who would normally be in their best 22.
But assistant coach Brendon Lade expects several big names to return for their February 22 NAB Cup fixture against North Melbourne and Melbourne.
"I'd like to think we get (Tyrone) Vickery and (Jack) Riewoldt back in our forward line, (Brett) Deledio, Cotchin and (Ivan) Maric back in our midfield and hopefully (Alex) Rance in our defence," Lade said.
"We'll still play a few of the kids in the (pre-season cup), give them an opportunity and see what they can do."
Lade noted that Richmond were much stronger in the second half against the All Stars, who swamped them early with a much better work rate.
"It was a disappointing first half for us, we weren't playing the way we knew we could play," Lade said.
"We were much happier in the second half when we started to play some good footy.
"We gave a lot of our kids an opportunity to play at that level and against some quality opposition - it was good to see a few of them stand up.
"We expected a lift and they knew they had to lift, so it was good to see them respond that way."
Nick Vlastuin and Matthew McDonough, who joined the Tigers through last year's national draft, were two youngsters who showed good signs against the All Stars.
Another recruit, mature-age rookie Orren Stephenson, improved as the match progressed.
Essendon's Paddy Ryder dominated the ruck early, but Stephenson lifted in the second half and kicked two goals.
"He'd never rucked against Paddy before, so it was a bit of a challenge for him," said Lade, himself a former ruckman.
"He (Ryder) was a completely different ruckman that he's probably ever rucked against.
"When Orren started to become more competitive, that's when we became more competitive as a team as well.
"It just goes to show, when you have a competitive ruckman, everyone else will start following."