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Premiership Tigers may wait a little longer

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Nathan Broad should return after being rested - AFL,Richmond Tigers,Damien Hardwick,Bachar Houli,Jack Graham,Reece Conca,Nathan Broad,Dion Prestia,Injuries
Nathan Broad should return after being rested

RICHMOND looks likely to resist temptation to boost its side with four premiership players this week, with Nathan Broad and Dion Prestia the only two guaranteed to return.

The premiers have Broad, Prestia, Bachar Houli and Jack Graham available to play this week against Gold Coast, but the latter two are more likely to line up in the VFL.

"They'll all play [at some level], and Reece Conca will play a half at VFL level too, which is a really positive step for us," coach Damien Hardwick said on Thursday before training.

ALL THE INJURIES The full AFL injury list

"They'll all train today and we'll make some calls this afternoon."

Prestia missed the Tigers' win over Geelong last week with the fractured rib he sustained in a collision with Collingwood's Travis Varcoe in round 19, while Nathan Broad sat out with a sore calf. 

Houli played a half in the VFL last week and had 15 possessions.

He last played in the AFL in round 17, which has been his only appearance at that level since round 10.

Graham dislocated his shoulder in round 16 against Adelaide, and while he'll need surgery at the end of the season, has been cleared to return to the field.

Both will train on Thursday, but Hardwick stopped short of declaring them certain starters for Saturday's clash with the Suns, with some "assessments to be made" on Graham after the session.

He also said they weren't concerned about the prospect of up to four changes destabilising a winning team. 

"Broad and Prestia have only missed a week, Bachar has missed more football than that, but once again, the tight-knit system we play, those guys step in pretty well so we're not too concerned by having too many changes," he said.

"The reality is, we've got a really tough decision with some players that have been playing some good football who are going to be missing out."

Small forward Dan Butler ran laps on Thursday and is "another week or fortnight away" from resuming after a round 16 ankle injury.

 

The Tigers will be searching for their first interstate victory of the season this Saturday after losing at Optus Stadium, Spotless Stadium and twice at Adelaide Oval. 

They've resisted temptation to alter their travelling routine despite their limited success away from Victoria and will fly up on Friday afternoon, returning Saturday night.

"It is what it is – it's there and we accept that," Hardwick said of the Tigers' woeful interstate record.

"A win on the road would probably put the talk down, I suppose, but it's not something we really concentrate on, we just concentrate on our process and putting our best foot forward to win the game.

"Our guys like the routine we have, we go up, train around the same time and then we relax and allow them to do what they do.

"Our guys have got a good preparation about what they come with.

"All those games we've lost interstate, we've been in the game for the vast majority, we just got blown out late in a couple of them, but we're very confident in our preparation over the course of a number of years about how we go interstate so we'll back that in.

"We feel if we bring our A-game, we're a good chance of winning."

Richmond is preparing for a different look Suns' side to the one that lost to Melbourne by 96 points last Sunday, with the likes of Steven May, Rory Thompson and David Swallow expected to return.