RICHMOND coach Damien Hardwick has ruled out Kane Lambert and Tom Lynch for next Friday night's clash against Sydney at the SCG after the pair suffered injuries in Saturday night's Dreamtime win over Essendon.
Lambert was substituted out of the 32-point win late in the third quarter due to hip soreness in his fourth game back from a hip concern over the pre-season, while Lynch spent the final quarter on the bench with ice on his hamstring.
The Tigers have the bye after next weekend's trip to Sydney before hosting Port Adelaide on Thursday June 9.
TIGERS V BOMBERS Full match details and stats
Hardwick said other players wouldn’t still be playing with the hip issue Lambert has been managing this year, praising the triple-premiership star for his courage.
"Those boys won't play next week. We'll assess the damage and go from there," Hardwick said on Saturday night.
"It is concerning. Any other player wouldn’t be playing, to be perfectly honest. What he does to get up for games is incredible.
"We thought we would get one – at a maximum two games – he's played the last four. Probably shows you how important he is that we start winning our games.
"His leadership both on and off the field is really important. He does effectively get a two-week break as well with the bye coming up. He is tough this guy, really, really tough. The game means a lot to him in fairness, so that’s why he keeps pushing through."
Richmond midfielder Jack Graham is expected to return for the trip to Sydney after being a late out for the clash against the Bombers due to a toe injury.
"He was touch and go. We thought he was no chance. He pushed and wanted to play such a significant game and then captain's run he just decided he wasn’t quite right," Hardwick said.
"We had fit players. Jack Ross came in and did a really good job, but Jack will be available to play next week at this stage."
Off-season signing Robbie Tarrant made a strong impact in his first game back in the senior side since round six, after spending the past fortnight in the VFL.
Hardwick conceded it has taken the 33-year-old time to learn Richmond's system, but praised the former North Melbourne defender's ability to play through hip pain.
"He is a really important player to us now, and moving forward. He is another tough guy; he had a bit of a hip complaint and he just wanted to keep playing. We started seeing what he could do tonight," Hardwick said.
"We've got to understand that players coming into systems – especially key forwards and key backs – are a little bit different to how we defend compared to his previous club.
"It was always going to take a little bit of time, but I thought he was really good tonight. Peter Wright is a match winner and he kept him to maybe one goal (Wright was held goalless)? I thought he was terrific."
Essendon coach Ben Rutten said he was pleased with the response from his side after the blowtorch was put on the Bombers this week following the awful loss to Sydney at the SCG last Saturday night.
"We're disappointed with the result. We came here to win. We prepared ourselves for a contest and a fight. We are really privileged to play on this occasion. There is a level of disappointment there, certainly," Rutten said post-match.
"But we're also in terms of the response from last week, in particular around the contest, our pressure, our effort, I thought there was improvement there, so that part we were pleased with."
Star forward Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti surprised the AFL world by announcing his retirement from the game on the eve of Sir Doug Nicholls Round, hanging up his boots after playing 126 games for the Bombers.
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"We've been working really closely as a football club with Anthony and trying to help support him as best we can on and off the field to get him back to playing at AFL level. That was always what we were trying to do and it was always what he'd been trying to do," Rutten said.
"I think it got to a stage where he was really clearly able to articulate that his head and his heart weren’t on the same page and he's been wrestling with that. AFL is a brutal game.
"It is sad and disappointing, but it is also we need to celebrate 'Walla'. Where he's come from, his story is so unique. He's paved the way for a lot of Indigenous players who have come through. The resilience he has had to show throughout his whole life and to be able to play one game of AFL footy was a huge achievement.
"In some ways it was a nice way for him to go out. He was really comfortable with it. He was really clear on what he wanted. We supported him with that."