Jacob Hopper limps off the ground during the R7 match between Richmond and Melbourne at the MCG on April 24, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

RICHMOND is hopeful Jacob Hopper's hamstring injury is on the minor side after the midfielder was subbed out of Thursday night's loss to Melbourne.

The 27-year-old was seen kicking at the bench in frustration after limping to the sidelines during the third quarter.

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He initially grabbed the back of his leg after a marking contest and was attended to by medical staff on the ground, but opted to stay on the field for several minutes before heading to the bench.

"You just feel sorry for him, hopefully it's not a bad one but I think it's just a minor tweak," Tigers coach Adem Yze said after the game.

Hopper had only just returned from a knee injury that saw him miss the last month of footy, and was playing with a taped knee for the first time in his life.

"He originally thought that (the injury) was something to do with the tape … and he hasn't hurt his hamstring before so he tried to stay out there and run it out," Yze said.


"I don't think he's made it any worse, but I think the fact that he had a taped knee made it a little bit uncomfortable, and disappointing for the guy because he put a power of work in trying really hard to make sure he was ready to play."

Hopper was important for Richmond early in the game,as his side went toe-to-toe with Melbourne, albeit in a scrappy affair.

A lack of polish in the front half is something Yze pointed to as significant in the result, with the Tigers still experimenting to cover the absence of injured duo Tom Lynch and Noah Balta.

Mykelti Lefau and ruck Sam Naismith were stationed inside 50 as the tall targets, while Dustin Martin and Shai Bolton roamed at ground level.


"We're missing a couple of big guys down there, but yeah, Mykelti (Lefau) competed really hard. We tried something different with a second ruck to help with their potency around stoppage and clearance, which I thought we did for the majority of the game," Yze said.

"We're trying different things in our front end … so we're going through a little bit right now but like I said, I'm really proud of the way the whole team competed."

When asked about Marlion Pickett's potential MRO scrutiny for a jab to Clayton Oliver's gut, Yze was more tongue in cheek.

"I didn't see it," Yze said, before adding: "I'll message Clayton about it today, he probably played it up a little bit."


Winning coach Simon Goodwin described the scrappy first half as "extraordinary".

"To be honest, it made a few people laugh in the box … that's just pretty unlike us in terms of where we were turning the ball over and how easily we were turning it over," Goodwin said.

"One thing we're really hard on is how we stay really optimistic and positive in situations that are stressful."

A shining light all evening for Melbourne was Jake Lever, who recorded 15 intercepts from a game-high 26 disposals, providing stability in defence.

"He's done it for us for a long time now, and I thought our backline, especially early, they were under enormous pressure," Goodwin said.


"That has been part of our game that's been really strong, (the) back six's ability to win the ball back … Jake Lever was outstanding tonight."

Despite the nature of the game, Melbourne's ability to hold the Tigers to just 42 points is something Goodwin is proud of.

"To keep a team to 42 points, that's one thing in our game that's really stood up, our ability to stop teams from scoring … we shouldn't walk away unhappy with keeping a team to 42 points," he said.