RICHMOND expects captain Trent Cotchin to play in Friday night’s AFL blockbuster against Collingwood as he nervously awaits the birth of his third child.
Cotchin’s wife Brooke is due and he is crossing his fingers it will happen before or after the MCG clash.
The star onballer trained on Thursday morning with his teammates at Punt Rd.
“There’s always a chance that these things happen, but it is what it is – at this stage he’s playing and we’ll work our way through that if it changes,” said coach Damien Hardwick.
Friday night is being billed as the match of the season, with an 80,000-plus crowd predicted.
The fifth-placed Tigers are on a three-game winning streak while fourth-placed Collingwood is struggling for form.
Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said they are a patchwork quilt form at the moment with their inconsistency.
But Collingwood has beaten Richmond convincingly in their last two games and the Tigers’ hierarchy said freely last season the Magpies were the best opposition they had faced.
In round two the Magpies slowed the game down, dominating with uncontested marks and making Richmond change their defensive system.
“The last time they outplayed us – all three facets of the game, they won easily, so we’re up against a challenge to see how much we’ve improved,” Hardwick said.
Then there’s the Mason Cox X-factor after the giant American famously tore Richmond apart in last September’s preliminary final triumph.
Cox is struggling now, but Hardwick compared him to in-form Richmond key forward Tom Lynch.
“The reality is, if Mason Cox brings the ball to ground and doesn’t get out- marked, he’s done his job,” Hardwick said.
“If he marks it, that’s a bonus – it’s like most key forwards. It’s the total value they bring to the side.”
Meanwhile, Hardwick said there’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge before key defender Alex Rance presses for an unlikely AFL comeback this season.
Rance is making speedy progress from his knee reconstruction and posted a video this week of him sprinting at Punt Rd.
“He’s flying around the track, but the reality is he’s running in straight lines,” Hardwick said.
“The reality will be when he starts to do some agility work, but we love the way he’s moving … Alex will continue to push the envelope.
“We’re not opening the door, but we’re not closing it, either.”
© AAP 2019