RICHMOND ruckman Ivan Maric is set to make his first appearance of the year in the VFL this weekend after a start to the season hampered by ankle setbacks.
Maric had surgery in February to remove bone spurs from his ankle and is confident he has overcome the complaint to play a part in the Tigers’ finals push.
"I‘m going to play about a half in the VFL on Saturday. It’s been a bit of a wait but I’m really looking forward to it," Maric told Footy Classified.
"(There’s been) probably a few (setbacks) because initially I thought it was going to be 6-8 weeks.
"I think that’s got to do with my height and a bit more weight going through my joints. It hasn’t been smooth sailing but that’s life."
The 29-year-old, entering his third year at Punt Road, would not put a limit on the number of VFL games he required to return to full match fitness.
Saturday’s match against Box Hill at Punt Road will be his first game since last year’s elimination final while an AFL return could come in the Dreamtime at the ‘G match on May 31.
"My ankle is feeling 100 per cent, the best it’s felt for a very long time. I did some really hard training last week and it’s pulled up well. I’m confident going into this week," he said.
"I’m not really thinking about how many games (I’ll need), I just want to really dominate VFL footy and make the coaches pick me."
Recruit Shaun Hampson has been shouldering much of the ruck work and will receive a timely boost upon Maric’s return.
"It’s pretty frustrating at times because I want to be out there helping my team. It’s been a good test of patience for me," Maric said.