Jack Riewoldt runs out for the Tigers in Wangaratta on Saturday
RICHMOND is set to welcome back up to eight members of its best side as its preparations advance for round one.
The Tigers beat Essendon by eight points in Wangaratta on Saturday
in round two of the NAB Cup, but remain far from full strength, unlike the Bombers who were missing only two first-choice players.
Captain Trent Cotchin, vice-captain Brett Deledio and ruckman Ivan Maric all missed the Bombers' clash, as did defender Steven Morris, recruit Chris Knights and young midfielder Reece Conca.
With defenders Dylan Grimes and Troy Chaplin also close to returning, coach Damien Hardwick said things were going to plan.
"There's probably about eight guys who will come back into our best 22 and that's really good for us," Hardwick said after the Essendon win.
"We've gone about it in a certain way, so we'll probably play pretty much full-strength sides in [the third and fourth rounds of the NAB Cup.]"
Chaplin, who crossed from Port Adelaide at the end of last year, is likely to take the field for his new club for the first time next week against Hawthorn. Grimes, recovering from a hamstring injury, is a chance to play the following week.
"Probably the only guys who possibly won't play round one [are] Grimes and [Nathan] Foley. But other than that we're in reasonable shape which is good," Hardwick said.
Hardwick was pleased with his side's ability to close out the win against the Bombers, and praised returning defender David Astbury for his job on Essendon forward Michael Hurley.
Bombers coach James Hird was less satisfied, noting some experimental elements to the game plan didn't work out.
"We tried a few things late in the second half of the last quarter and that probably didn't help us, the things we tried," Hird said.
"I think we let them score too much, we let them run it out of their half-back line too easily at certain times. And around the contest early on in the game we weren't as good as we have been."
The Bombers played in bursts and weren't able to produce when the game was up for grabs, but Hird said there were positives to take.
Jake Carlisle's effort against Jack Riewoldt was acknowledged, Nick Kommer's rugged approach has seen him be in round one contention, and Hird was happy to get more game time into a group of senior players.
Hird said Hurley, who had his right leg bandaged and then left the field after colliding with Astbury, had only suffered a cork and will be fine to take on Greater Western Sydney next Friday at Manuka Oval in Canberra.
Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey.