RICHMOND recruit Chris Yarran faces a challenge to maintain fitness as he recovers from an injured foot, after he returned from the off-season in poor condition.
The Tigers traded for Yarran at the end of last year for pick No. 19 in the 2015 NAB AFL Draft.
Yarran, 25, is known for playing exhilarating football when in form but has been criticised for looking uninterested at times.
He will have surgery early next week for plantar fascia tissue damage in his left foot and is not expected to play until round six at the earliest.
"I wasn't actually at the club at the time he came back, but I heard through the grapevine something along those lines (that he was unfit)," defender Alex Rance said.
"Everyone knows their expectations when they come back. We've got targets that we set.
"He's got himself in some reasonable nick and it's just unfortunate that he's had a few calf injuries that held him back.
"Hopefully as soon as he recovers from this operation he'll be right to go."
Persistent calf issues have hampered Yarran's pre-season. He was limited to 45 minutes of game time for the whole pre-season, which came in a VFL intra-club match.
Rance, 26, has become one of the elite defenders in the competition. He is Richmond's reigning best and fairest and was named as a starting key defender in the past two All Australian teams, but he said he can get better.
"I can always improve, just ask Dimma (coach Damien Hardwick)," Rance joked.
He nominated decision-making as an area he had worked on in the pre-season.
"It's always been a knock on my game, since my early days. I'd always rush," he said.
"It's just about being calm and composed."
Rance will also look to mentor his fellow defenders, having been recently elevated to the Tigers' leadership group, joining Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Ivan Maric and Shane Edwards.
"[I can] make others around me better.
"With [Dylan] Grimes, Nick Vlastuin, Dave Astbury, blokes like that who are really starting to come into their own – [I can help them] develop their own leadership skills."