THE END of Richmond's injury crisis is near, with the club hopeful of regaining as many as six players for its clash with St Kilda following its bye next week.
Captain Trent Cotchin is set to return from a hamstring setback that kept him from travelling to the Adelaide Oval this week, while experienced duo Shane Edwards and David Astbury are also likely to come back into the side following their own respective hamstring injuries.
The club is hopeful Kane Lambert will make his comeback from an Achilles problem, with young defender Jayden Short also on the verge of returning from a gruesome elbow injury.
YOUNG TIGERS FALL SHORT Full match details and stats
Ruckman Ivan Soldo should also make a speedy recovery from illness.
Their timely returns follow a valiant 33-point defeat to Adelaide on Thursday night, with coach Damien Hardwick praising the manner in which his team has remained in the premiership hunt despite an extensive and star-studded injury list taking its toll.
"There's been a lot of positives in the first part of the year," Hardwick said.
"We're 7-6, so we're certainly in the hunt. We've hung tough, but we know we've got a bit of work to do to solidify where we are."
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With as many as 11 regulars out of Richmond's team on Thursday night due to injury, Hardwick conceded the bye has come at an ideal time for the Tigers.
It also coincides with a disappointing run of three straight defeats.
"It's certainly good for most sides at this time of year," Hardwick said.
"It's a grind and we know how long the season is. It will certainly help us get some recovery into those players as well.
"Our best footy is certainly still in front of us, we acknowledge that, but we're also really pleased with some of the players we've found at this point of the year."
WATCH Damien Hardwick's full post-match media conference
Richmond had 11 players with fewer than 50 games worth of experience on Thursday night, with a number of the club's youngsters earning the praises of Hardwick for their efforts.
Mabior Chol, Patrick Naish and Noah Balta were among those to perform admirably, with the Tigers getting to within four points of the Crows in the final quarter before falling away.
"It's a lot of growth for our guys," Hardwick said.
"They're playing against some quality players. That's the game in a nutshell.
"The Crows obviously had some injuries in-game, but they're pretty much at full strength apart from Tom Lynch and Tom Doedee.
"I was happy with some parts of our game, but there are certainly some areas of our game that we've got to improve going forward."