Adem Yze addresses his players during Richmond's training session at Punt Road Oval on November 15, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Ins and outs


Oliver Hayes-Brown (Category B rookie), Jacob Koschitzke (trade, Hawthorn), Liam Fawcett (No.43 draft pick), Kane McAuliffe (No.40 draft pick), Sam Naismith (delisted free agent)


Kaelan Bradtke (delisted), Jason Castagna (retired), Trent Cotchin (retired), Bigoa Nyuon (trade, North Melbourne), Jack Riewoldt (retired), Ivan Soldo (trade, Port Adelaide), Robbie Tarrant (retired)

Medical room

Tom Lynch has already ruled himself out of Opening Round as he continues to recover from the foot injury that has sidelined the spearhead since round four last year. He is aiming to play in round one or two. Once again, there's an injury watch on the unlucky Dion Prestia, who has another minor hamstring injury and will miss at least the match simulation, as well as Dylan Grimes (calf). Josh Gibcus looks ready to go after missing the entirety of 2023 with a complex hamstring issue. Shai Bolton (ankle) and Jack Ross (toe) have recovered nicely from off-season surgery.

Three burning questions

What impact will new coach Adem Yze have on the Tigers?
Yze has already been on the record and tempered expectations of a brand-new game plan, instead focusing on tinkering existing methods. After 13.5 seasons of Damien Hardwick, it'll be intriguing to see the effect of a new voice on the playing group. Are the Tigers set to bounce back up the ladder, following a 13th-place finish last year? Or will the slide continue following the departure of Jack Riewoldt and Trent Cotchin, with Yze to steer the club through a rebuild? Given the number of future draft picks stockpiled last year (to be used in 2024), it could be the latter.

Where is Noah Balta's best position?
One of Yze's most definitive moves this pre-season has been a permanent shift of Balta from a key defensive role to second forward next to Lynch (with recruit Jacob Koschitzke as the third tall). There are arguably two questions here – where is Balta's best role, and where is his best role for the team? Balta's best footy has come when he plays behind the ball, intercepting and reacting to the play. But given the questions over Lynch's fitness and the retirement of Riewoldt, the team need him to play in attack.

Noah Balta in action during round one, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Who is Richmond's next generation of leaders?
The Tigers have eschewed the traditional, publicly announced leadership group since 2017, only naming captains and vice-captains. Cotchin and Riewoldt have retired, and Dylan Grimes has stepped down from his position, leaving Toby Nankervis (30 this year) as sole captain. Lynch, Nathan Broad and Nick Vlastuin are around a similar age, meaning the next skipper is likely to come from the age group including Liam Baker, Jack Graham, Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto

Track watch

Most pre-season hype has been around young midfielder Thomson Dow, who played three straight matches to round out season 2023. Now 22, Dow was a first-round selection back in 2019, and has struggled to hold a consistent spot in the AFL side. The versatile Rhyan Mansell has also earned praise from teammates and coaches alike, training as a full-time pressure small forward over pre-season.

Thomson Dow in action during the match between St Kilda and Richmond at Marvel Stadium in round 22, 2023. Picture:/Getty Images

Fantasy lock

Battling a hamstring injury that kept him out for the 2023 season, Josh Gibcus (DEF, $256,000) didn't have an opportunity to add to his 17 games from his debut campaign. With a discount that prices him with other rookies, the defender should be considered as a cash cow option if named. Don't expect massive scores considering the role (and his average that only just cracked 40 in 2022), but he is likely to play.

Instant hit

Richmond wasn't overly busy at the trade table or in the draft. Former Hawk Jacob Koschitzke is all but guaranteed a spot in the best 22 in attack. Keep your eye on Sam Naismith, the former Sydney ruck training strongly on the track as a replacement for Ivan Soldo (Port Adelaide). While not an immediate injection, draftee Kane McAuliffe should feature at some point this year, rotating through the middle, with young key forward Liam Fawcett also a chance. 

Jacob Koschitzke in action during Richmond's training session at Punt Road Oval on November 15, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

It's a big year for…

Toby Nankervis. In December, new sole captain Nankervis said he needs to improve his discipline on the field (he was suspended for three weeks for an off-the-ball bump on Sydney's Jake Lloyd last year) but won't change his style of play. Nankervis also has a lengthy injury history, but the Tigers stand taller when 'Nank the Tank' is laying crunching tackles. Back-up ruck Naismith's durability is questionable after three knee reconstructions, and Samson Ryan is still young and undersized. The new ruck rules around blocking should work in Nankervis' favour as a shorter but strong player.

Toby Nankervis and Mitch Owens compete for the ball during the R22 match between Richmond and St Kilda at UTAS Stadium on August 13, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Pass mark

Finals will be the aim, but as their former coach would say, the fact of the matter is that this is a list in transition. Breaking even with last year (13th, 10.5 wins and a percentage of 93.6) would be handy.

Best 23 for 2024

B: Dylan Grimes, Tylar Young, Nathan Broad
HB: Jayden Short, Nick Vlastuin, Daniel Rioli
C: Marlion Pickett, Tim Taranto, Jack Ross
HF: Shai Bolton, Noah Balta, Liam Baker
F: Jacob Koschitzke, Tom Lynch, Dustin Martin
Foll: Toby Nankervis, Dion Prestia, Jacob Hopper 
I/C: Jack Graham, Thomson Dow, Kamdyn McIntosh, Josh Gibcus, Rhyan Mansell
Emerg: Samson Ryan, Sam Banks, Tyler Sonsie, Maurice Rioli jnr