RICHMOND captain Trent Cotchin is confident he will be fit for round one despite the prospect of spending the entire NAB Challenge on the sidelines because of a hamstring complaint.
Cotchin has had his kicking load managed in recent weeks because of hamstring soreness, sitting out the Tigers' first two pre-season games against the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide.
The 24-year-old remains a chance to face North Melbourne on Saturday, in what will be the Tigers' final competitive hit-out before their blockbuster season-opener against Carlton on April 2.
"Hopefully I give myself a chance of playing this week, but if not I'll set myself up for playing round one and have a real crack there," Cotchin told AFL.com.au.
"It's always nice to have a hit-out and get your touch back, it's more the intensity of the game that you're not used to ... but the way we've been training over the summer has been real intense.
"I've been able to keep my load right up with regards to running. It was more so holding back from kicking that's been the real issue."
Aside from Cotchin, the Tigers were able to introduce the majority of their senior players into action against Port Adelaide on Saturday, fielding close to their best side in Albury.
Ruckman Ivan Maric, who has benefited from a reduced training load this pre-season, dominated the hit-outs early before he was substituted out at three-quarter time.
After missing the 29-year-old for the first 10 rounds last year because of an ankle injury, the Tigers are excited about launching the season with Maric driving their midfield.
Cotchin said the Tigers' match committee had a decision to make on whether they could also play fellow big man Shaun Hampson, who impressed in the opening NAB Challenge match but was left out against the Power.
"He's come a long way from last year," Cotchin said of the former Blues ruckman.
"We love how he's improved over the summer and he's just going to give himself every chance to play in the senior team.
"Ivan has had a really continuous pre-season, which he hasn't had for a couple of years now, so he'll be set to go for round one.
"He's a massive part of our structure and we're just looking forward to him being ready and available at the start of the season."