Tigers depth faces test in Cairns
THE depth of Richmond will again be tested this weekend against a fearless Gold Coast side desperate to break their winless run.
The Tigers had seven missing as they crept past strugglers Melbourne last Saturday and coach Damien Hardwick is set to name another below-strength squad when teams are announced later today.
Midfielder Nathan Foley is the latest major casualty, ruled out for the season after a heel injury blew up again at training on Tuesday.
The news compounded their already sorry state with Ty Vickery (shoulder), Dylan Grimes (hamstring) and Jake King (knee) all facing long stints on the sidelines.
Richmond will also be without Daniel Jackson (AFL suspension) and Dustin Martin (club suspension) when they arrive in Cairns today, while they last week cut ties with troubled Tiger Daniel Connors.
But defender Alex Rance said those losses at the selection table would not harm their chances of getting some payback after losing to the Suns in Cairns last year.
"Yeah, the memories aren’t good, so we’re looking forward to some redemption," he said.
"We've got a bit of confidence now and I think we showed (in the win against the Demons last Saturday) that our depth is certainly better."
Rance is one of a host of young Tigers that shape as the future of the club. He said the advancement of their game since last year's trip to the Far North was clear to see.
"It’s very exciting to be at the club at the moment – the culture's awesome and we all get along well," he said.
The controversies of last week behind them, Rance reckons a top-eight finals' spot is a realistic goal.
"I'll sling the old cliche out: one game at a time," he said.
"But every team wants to win finals and it's something we are looking to."
A top-eight charge will be nothing but a daydream though, unless they can limit their turnovers and kick straighter than they did against the Dees last weekend.
The Tigers married 23 behinds with 13 majors in that game, keeping the lowly Demons in the contest as a result.
"It was a bit outrag'ous. It was probably just one of those days, but I remember how windy it was in Cairns last year, so it's something we’re going to have to adjust to," Rance said.
And he said they would need to be on full alert considering Suns captain Gary Ablett's announcement that his side would continue to take a "no fear" approach to their football.
"They've definitely got some stars. You've got to be careful against a side like that," Rance said.
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Confident: Richmond Tigers run at a Melbourne suburban oval yesterday in preparation for their match against the Gold Coast Suns in Cairns this weekend. Picture: FIONA HAMILTON