RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick says the threat posed by St Kilda spearhead Max King won't sway him from using swingman Noah Balta at the opposite end of the ground in their AFL clash.
Premiership defender Balta has impressed in attack this season, kicking six goals across the opening two rounds.
He combined well with Tom Lynch against GWS last week in the absence of veteran forward Jack Riewoldt, who has been named to return from a thumb injury against the Saints at the MCG on Sunday.
R3 TEAMS Out comes the axe
"We know what we've got with Noah down back but we wanted to see what he could be and we've really enjoyed what he's brought," Hardwick said.
"He's a powerful man, a great contested mark and he's a great kick at goal as well.
"At this stage we'll settle him down up forward for this week but that's not to say that in the upcoming weeks he won't swing down back at various stages."
King's dominant third-quarter showing against Fremantle last week was crucial in St Kilda claiming their first win of the season.
The 21-year-old, now in his third full season after injuries ruined his rookie year, booted four goals in a performance that made the rest of the competition take notice.
Balta is arguably the Tigers' best physical match-up for King but Hardwick will try his other options first.
"He's an incredible talent, Max. He's getting better and better every year we see him play," Hardwick said.
"But we're really confident with Robbie (Tarrant), Josh Gibcus and Dylan Grimes ... that one of those players will be able to fill the role and negate him as best they can.
"He's going to take some marks, he's going to kick some goals - that's what the very best players do.
"We've got to make sure we manage that as best we can and keep it to a relatively low total."
Riewoldt and Grimes, who missed last week because of soreness, both took part in the Tigers' light training session at Punt Road on Friday.
Meanwhile, Richmond superstar Dustin Martin is no closer to returning from personal leave.
Martin has been away from the club since last week as he grieves the death of his father, Shane, last December.
"We have no further update at this stage. It's still at the same stage that we had last (week)," Hardwick said.
"We give him time and we wish him all the very best, and we can't wait to welcome him back at some stage.
"When that is, we're not too sure."
Hardwick chose not to disclose further details, brushing off questions about whether Martin is training while away from the club.
"I appreciate that everyone does want to know where we're at but we'll keep our cards pretty close to our chest," Hardwick said.