DYLAN Grimes says the Richmond players want Mark Williams to remain at Punt Road, such has been his influence as head development coach over the past season.

Williams is the firm favourite to replace the sacked Scott Watters as St Kilda coach, with the club looking to make an appointment in the coming week.

While the Saints are also reportedly interested in Port Adelaide assistant coach Alan Richardson, he has insisted again he is not being interviewed and is happy in his role at the Power.

The Tigers, who started pre-season on Monday, have already lost defensive coach Justin Leppitsch to the Brisbane Lions' senior role this off-season.

Grimes said it was hard to say what impact the loss of Williams would have, but the players were keen for him to remain in his development role.

"Everyone knows what kind of a character Choco is and how much of influence he's had on us," Grimes told SEN.

"Every player at the club would not hesitate in saying that they would love him to stay on.

"At the same time, we've had some coaches like Justin Leppitsch move on and we wish them all the best with their journey.

"We're a club that's looking to move forward and we're trying to bring everyone along with that challenge, so I'd love for him to stay and I hope he does."

The Tigers have appointed former St Kilda and Gold Coast player Andrew McQualter and recent Hawthorn premiership ruckman Max Bailey as development coaches to work under Williams.

Grimes said the two had already had a big impact on the young players just two days into pre-season.

The injury-prone defender, who missed 10 weeks this year with a foot injury and has been plagued by hamstring problems in the past, finally seems to have caught a break with his body.  

He played the final four games of the season, including the Tigers' elimination final loss to Carlton, and has started training on time.

"[The body] is pretty good. I haven't got too much to complain about this early in the pre-season," he said.

"I think it's the fittest I've been in my career, starting pre-season, and I'm rapt to be on the park at the moment."

Twitter: @AFL_JenPhelan