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Rance's heir apparent unlikely to face Magpies

Captains feel the heat, turf trouble, Swan's setback Nat Edwards and Mitch Cleary with all the latest news

RICHMOND is still working out how best to replace Alex Rance, but it's unlikely his nominated long-term successor, Ryan Garthwaite, will be called upon to fill the void against Collingwood on Thursday night.

Garthwaite, who played two matches in 2018 when David Astbury was out, was on managed minutes in his return from an Achilles injury in Thursday evening's VFL practice match against Northern Blues. 

Richmond football manager Neil Balme said Garthwaite would probably need more game time before being considered for senior selection. 

"He only played about 50 per cent of the game so it would be pretty unlikely that we'd pick him this week, but we haven't been through that process yet," Balme told AFL.com.au

"It's not out of the question completely but it wouldn't be ideal." 

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Balme said Garthwaite had overcome a "grumbly Achilles" and had been in full training for several weeks to make himself available to play. 

The 20-year-old will look to get more mileage into his legs to give himself the best chance of being recalled for an extended period of time throughout 2019, according to Balme.

Balme said there was also an option of pushing the versatile Noah Balta, who made his debut against Carlton in round one, into defence.

"He's played a reasonable amount of defence in the VFL last year, plus forward," Balme said. 

"It's a matter of what we decide to do with our players and the structure of the side." 

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Balme said the make-up of Collingwood's forward line, which features medium-sized forwards Jordan De Goey, Jamie Elliott and Jaidyn Stephenson, would also be considered in the selection process.

With the Tigers to make at least one forced change, Balme said Brandon Ellis, Oleg Markov and Jack Ross would all come into the mix to face the Pies. 

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Ellis racked up 40 disposals against Northern Blues after missing out on selection in round one, while Markov and Ross were also among the top performers. 

"They're always in the picture. If you haven't got 22 to pick from each week you're in a bit of trouble," Balme said.

"Some blokes were a bit stiff not to get a game, but we're certainly considering those guys."