Tagger Daniel Jackson is back for Richmond, just in time for Saturday’s AFL encounter with the Ryan Griffen-led Western Bulldogs.
After missing round one with a back injury and having 11 disposals last week in a loss to North Melbourne, 2013 All-Australian midfielder Griffin is due to fire at Etihad Stadium.
And if the Bulldogs’ new skipper starts showing anywhere near the form he did last season, when he had 30 or more touches 11 times, the Tigers are going to need a small army to stop him.
Western Bulldogs assistant coach Shannon Grant says the 190cm Griffen’s explosive pace and body strength make him a very difficult match-up.
“The more games he’s going to get under his belt now, he’s only going to get better,” Grant told AAP on Friday.
“He’ had another full week on the track where he’s been able to get some extra work in as well.
“We’re quite confident that it won’t be too long before he’s back to his damaging best.
“Richmond have a number of players they could probably put through him. I’m sure they’d put a fair bit of time into him.
“He has come off probably his best season that he’s had so far last year.
“We certainly need him playing the way we know he can pretty soon.
“He’s very explosive and he has terrific pace and agility.
“I never tagged too often when I was playing but I certainly wouldn’t like the task of looking after him,” the former North Melbourne midfielder added.
Richmond have recovered from their round-one loss to Gold Coast with victory last week over Carlton.
The winless Bulldogs faded in the final term last week as North scored a 29-point triumph.
With only eight goals to show for their efforts last week, including one each from key forwards Stewart Crameri and Liam Jones, forwards coach Grant says the Bulldogs’ attack is still under construction.
“A lot of things we planned for and went into the game to achieve, we did quite well for three quarters,” Grant said.
Griffen had 35 disposals when the Bulldogs last met Richmond in round 13 2013. However the Tigers can look to recent history with confidence, having beaten the Bulldogs by 67 and 60 points in their two meetings last year.
Richmond have made three changes, recalling Jackson from injury, alongside Nathan Gordon and third-string ruckman Orren Stephenson.
Nathan Foley has been dropped, while vice-captain Brett Deledio’s 140-game streak of consecutive appearances has been broken by injury and ruckman Shaun Hampson has joined fellow big Ivan Maric on Richmond’s injury list.
The Bulldogs will look to dominate the ruck through 2013 All-Australian Will Minson.