RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick has thrown his weight behind '24/7' delisted free agency, saying clubs should be able to add in experienced players throughout the season and not just at the mid-year rookie draft.
As the Tigers welcome back Kane Lambert from his calf injury to face West Coast on Sunday, and wait on Dion Prestia to prove his fitness from his hamstring tightness last week, Hardwick gave full support to an increased mid-year player movement space.
AFL.com.au this week proposed '24/7 DFA', which would allow clubs to fill injured players' spots with previously listed AFL players currently outside the top level at any moment up until a cut-off period late in the home and away season.
The triple premiership coach said a recent injury scare for a Tigers youngster was an example of why clubs should be free to add players across the season and not only at the NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
"Absolutely [I'd be in favour]. I think it has to come in. We had a slight scare on the weekend with one of our talls, Biggy Nyuon, we thought he did his ACL and I thought straight away that we look at a guy such as Nathan Freeman, who we could have quite easily picked up," Hardwick said on Friday.
"I think anything that gives the opportunity for people to play our great game should be looked at. And I think the AFL in general will look at it also.
"It creates a great conversation piece for journalists, for players, for our game. It can only be a positive in my view. The more we open up the player-movement system, I think, can only be a great thing for our game."
Hardwick, who has previously advocated for a loan system, said young tall Nyuon would likely miss only one week with his knee injury after the anterior cruciate ligament scare.
The Tigers strongly considered former Saint and Magpie Freeman for this month's mid-season rookie draft before selecting ex-St Kilda speedster Matthew Parker with their one choice. Freeman has been dominant at VFL level.
"I'm not sure why we put on timeframes [on movement]. The reality is you should be able to move players until a certain point and then it shuts down and then the finals come into it," Hardwick said.
Hardwick confirmed three-time premiership midfielder Lambert would return for Richmond's trip back to Perth to take on the Eagles at Optus Stadium on Sunday for his first game since round six, with the Tigers to return to Melbourne after three weeks on the road following the game for their bye.
Prestia was named in Richmond's extended squad on Thursday night but still has to prove his fitness at training on Friday before being given the all clear.
"He's questionable at this stage, we'll see how he goes at training but we're hopeful he can get up and play the game for us," Hardwick said.
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