RICHMOND'S reigning club champion Dion Prestia is on track to be one of three Tigers to return from injury for their first final in a fortnight.
Prestia underwent ankle surgery in July after suffering a syndesmosis setback in Richmond's round five win over Melbourne and hasn't played since, but is well on the way to being back.
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Dual premiership coach Damien Hardwick said after his team's 44-point defeat of Adelaide on Saturday that the 27-year-old onballer planned to fit in match practice next week and was set to be ready for finals.
"Dion is a wonderful player – a best and fairest winner – and hasn't played for us for a long period of time, but he just makes us better by being out there," Hardwick said.
"If he's putting his hand up to play, I'm picking him."
Shai Bolton (corked calf) is certain to be available for the Tigers' qualifying final, while Tom Lynch (hamstring) should be as well, although Hardwick said they wouldn't risk him if there was any doubt.
In-game injuries to Josh Caddy (knee) and Jake Aarts (shoulder) aren't expected to rule them out.
The victory over the Crows sealed third spot for Richmond, extending the club's run of top-four finishes to four years as it hunts a third flag in that period.
Making the result sweeter was the successful returns of key pair Shane Edwards and David Astbury – last seen in rounds five and four, respectively – after Bachar Houli also came back in recent weeks.
Astbury resumed from a knee injury, while Edwards remained in Victoria for the birth of his first child and has just come out of the AFL's transition hub, where he trained alongside Gary Ablett.
With more talent incoming, the pressure for spots at Tigerland will be enormous come finals time.
"There are going to be some good players miss out, but you know your list has to run deep to go as far as you can," Hardwick said.
"We've earned the opportunity in the top four. Our guys have hung tough throughout the year and every player plays a role.
"Some will play in a final; some will help those guys playing in a final. The good thing about our playing group is they have a really good understanding of what makes us great."
Adelaide had won three straight games – after starting the season with 13 defeats in a row – but the loss to Richmond sealed the club its first wooden spoon.
First-year coach Matthew Nicks said finishing on the bottom "needs to sting for us" and that the Crows hadn't performed anywhere near his expectations, even after a major player cleanout.
The upside for Nicks was the way his side's performance spiked in the latter stages of the season, with players such as Elliott Himmelberg, Shane McAdam, Lachie Sholl and Tyson Stengle emerging.
"We feel like our last, call it six to eight weeks, we found that recipe or what it is that's going to get us to play consistent football," Nicks said.
"Even tonight, we come off after a game like tonight and feel proud of what the group put out there. Yes, in the end, a far better team put us away, so we have work to do.
"But I've been really pleased with the development we've seen in the group."
The post-season will be dominated by whichever way the Brad Crouch decision goes, but Nicks said there wasn't any great rush for a call to be made.