FOR ANY other side, the task facing Richmond this week would be daunting.
However, typical of the reigning premiers' unparalleled thirst for a challenge, Damien Hardwick described the test posed towards the Tigers as "exciting" on Sunday night.
As Richmond prepares to head interstate on Monday for the next five weeks as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Tigers could do so without eight premiership stars.
Injuries, personal reasons and trade moves conducted last year could see the team lose more than a third of that 2019 Grand Final side – all in the space of just six games.
Here is how the new-look Richmond could line up against Sydney next Sunday.
RICHMOND 2019 GRAND FINAL TEAM
B: Nathan Broad, David Astbury, Dylan Grimes
HB: Bachar Houli, Nick Vlastuin, Jayden Short
C: Brandon Ellis, Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy
HF: Daniel Rioli, Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin
F: Jason Castagna, Tom Lynch, Kane Lambert
FOLL: Toby Nankervis, Shane Edwards, Dustin Martin
I/C: Shai Bolton, Ivan Soldo, Liam Baker, Marlion Pickett
OUT: David Astbury (knee), Bachar Houli (personal), Brandon Ellis (trade), Dion Prestia (syndesmosis), Trent Cotchin (hamstring), Tom Lynch (broken finger), Toby Nankervis (syndesmosis), Shane Edwards (personal)
The only chance this list is reduced is whether Tom Lynch is able to play through the pain barrier, having finished Sunday's match with a broken finger. The key forward was one of a number of casualties stemming from that victory over Melbourne. Both Toby Nankervis and Dion Prestia sustained syndesmosis injuries and won't play this week, while captain Trent Cotchin hurt his hamstring and will also be unavailable. David Astbury will miss the next month having already undergone knee surgery, while Brandon Ellis left the club for Gold Coast during last year's Telstra AFL Trade Period. Bachar Houli and Shane Edwards are expected to remain in Victoria and not travel to the hub due to family reasons.
POTENTIAL RICHMOND 2020 ROUND SIX TEAM
B: Nick Vlastuin, Dylan Grimes, Nathan Broad
HB: Jayden Short, Noah Balta, Liam Baker
C: Kamdyn McIntosh, Jack Ross, Josh Caddy
HF: Jake Aarts, Jack Riewoldt, Daniel Rioli
F: Jason Castagna, Dustin Martin, Jack Higgins
FOLL: Ivan Soldo, Jack Graham, Kane Lambert
I/C: Marlion Pickett, Shai Bolton, Thomson Dow, Mabior Chol
IN: Noah Balta, Kamdyn McIntosh, Jack Ross, Jake Aarts, Jack Higgins, Thomson Dow, Mabior Chol, Jack Graham
Richmond has been mightily impressed by the development of first-round draft pick Thomson Dow, who looks slightly ahead of Riley Collier-Dawkins and is pressing for a senior debut. Noah Balta was among the best on Sunday, replacing Astbury in the backline. Jack Ross and Jack Graham will give the midfield some grunt in the absence of Cotchin and Edwards, while Jack Higgins will keep his place after a couple of solid weeks in the forward line. Jake Aarts enjoyed a really impressive debut against Melbourne, doing more than enough to keep his spot, while Mabior Chol's versatility will give some support for Soldo in the ruck. Kamdyn McIntosh has done enough to keep his place on a wing.