RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick has warned against being too focused on Gary Ablett in the season opener against Gold Coast.

As expected, Daniel Jackson, the Tigers' best and fairest winner – and the most likely match-up for Ablett - will miss Saturday night's away match because of an interrupted pre-season.

Hardwick hopes Jackson will be ready for the round two blockbuster against Carlton, but in the meantime upgraded rookie Matt Thomas is in the frame to run with the dual Brownlow medallist.

The Tigers are yet to decide whether to specifically clamp down on Ablett, with Hardwick pointing to Michael Rischitelli, NAB AFL Rising Star winner Jaegar O'Meara, Dion Prestia and Harley Bennell as midfielders who warranted respect.

While Richmond have to work out a new plan for the dual Brownlow medallist, Hardwick said the developing Suns had plenty of ways to hurt the Tigers in and around the stoppages.

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Hardwick pointed to Michael Rischitelli, NAB AFL Rising Star winner Jaegar O'Meara, Dion Prestia and Harley Bennell as midfielders who warranted respect.

"The danger with looking too much at Gary is you underestimate the other players in their side," he said.

"You can manage to try and put all your eggs in one basket with Gary or actually realise that their midfield overall is a very solid unit that is capable of winning some footy games."

Hardwick added there is no guaranteed way to plan for Ablett.

"We've thought about a lot of options for Gary Ablett," he said.

"He's a fantastic player and the thing you assume with Gary, he's going to get his 25-30 touches anyway.

"It's whether we go ... with a defensive-minded player on him and try and limit him by two or three possessions or we try and attack him the other way."

Hardwick was confident that Jackson would only miss the round-one match.

"He's a little bit off, so he'll get a couple of weeks of training under his belt and then we'll look to bring him back for round two," he said.

While Jackson has struggled to regain fitness, key forward Ty Vickery has starred in the pre-season.

Shaun Hampson's arrival from Carlton not only is crucial backup while Ivan Maric recovers from injury, but also frees Vickery to play permanently in attack.

"We're really pleased with what his output has been," Hardwick said.

"It's probably been a plan of our for a long period of time to just have him a pure key position player.

"We're hoping he can kick a bag of goals this year.

"If we can get an output of 40 goals for the year and he tackles and chases, we're in a good place."

There are big expectations for Richmond and Gold Coast this season, with the Tigers aiming to make consecutive finals series for the first time in 30 years.

The Suns could be top-eight contenders for the first time and will fancy their chances against Richmond.

"They're a side that is definitely on the way up," Hardwick said.

"Every game within the AFL now is a danger game.

"You have to understand from a coaching perspective and inside this facility here, all the points are important."