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Richmond coach Damien Hardwick eliminates Noah Balt defender in Dreamtime in match G with Esendan


Richmond will be without Noah Balt and possibly Jack Graham on Saturday night’s Dreamtime return to MCG.

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick has confirmed that Balta (hamstring) will miss a meeting with Esendan this weekend and will not return after saying goodbye to the club in the 12th round in early June.

The absence of Balta should open the door for Robbie Taranto to regain his place, and Hardwick hinted that they could give Josh Gibcus (Covid) an extra week to recover, even though he is out of health and safety protocols. on Wednesday.

Graham (ankle) has shown improvement in recent days, but Richmond may also be mistaken on the side of caution with him given the short turn to his 11th round game against Sydney.

“At this point he’s probably 50-50,” Hardwick said of Graham.

The last two days he has moved forward. We probably thought it was less likely than more likely, but the last couple of days have been promising.

“But he’s an important player, then we have a six-day break when we move to Sydney, so we’ll move on and go.”

But the Tigers will pick Riolis, Daniel and Maurice, in the annual Dreamtime spectacle, which Hardwick called “exciting”.

“I think every time you hear Rioli’s name, you just get a little warm glow inside,” he said.

“It’s great to see how proud Daniel is of his uncles in Maurice. The two are just bouncing off from each other, and the guys from the indigenous population as a whole got real vigor this week, as it should.

“This is a significant event in which we have the incredible privilege of playing in front of such a huge crowd.

“In our view, this is one of the best weeks on the calendar, and we hope it will continue to evolve and grow, and we continue to attract indigenous players to our game.”

Hardwick gave the highest praise to the Five Gamers Maurice Riola, whose return three games ago, according to the coach, coincided with the re-emergence of the “Richmond style of play”.

“Last week he was probably a little quieter, but in defense he’s just elite in what he does,” he said.

“We call it that when he plays, people see ghosts (only with) the pressure he puts on. They know he’s in the competition and he’s just exciting and our players love to play with him.

Camera iconTom Lynch gives Richmond a solid target ahead. Michael Klein Credit: News Corp Australia

“His energy is contagious and our players are feeding on it, so although last week he was a little quieter, we think he will be much better this week.”

The Tigers have won three in a row to climb into the top eight, while the Bombers have finished 16th, with just two wins in nine games this season.

But Hardwick said the differential on the stairs is largely “irrelevant” on big stages such as Dreamtime on G, which took place in Perth and Darwin the last two years because of the pandemic.

“We know they are very, very capable. They are well prepared and well prepared, ”he said.

“Sometimes, for some reason, players lack the confidence (but) to be able to turn around quickly with a good start, so we need to make sure we start the game and match their strength.

“Undoubtedly, they will be before the battle, just like us. We just need to make sure our level of consistency goes on for four quarters. We think that if we take care of our plot of grass, we will be fine. “


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