Secret behind Tigers’ injury success revealed
GOOD management rather than good luck is being credited for Richmond's remarkable run with injuries over the past two years.
As the Tigers prepare for Friday night's preliminary final, only one player from its 2017 premiership side - Jacob Townsend (ankle) - is unavailable for selection.
Statistics show 13 Tigers have played at least 43 of a possible 48 games over the past two years, including the "Big Four" - Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin, Alex Rance and Jack Riewoldt.
Rance has not missed a game in that period while Martin and defender Dylan Grimes have missed one each.
Richmond football manager Neil Balme said credit had to go to the players for diligently following their individual training and rehabilitation programs.
"All you can focus on is the management. You can't do much about the luck, so you've just got to accept that or not," Balme said.
"I don't think there's much doubt that the harder you work and the more diligent you are, the luckier you become and I think that's the bit about the players' responsibility.
"If they don't do what they say they're going to do, you never quite know what works and what doesn't, so we're really pleased with the attitude of the players."
Richmond's fitness program is led by physical performance manager Peter Burge, a former Olympic long jumper and triple jumper who spent time with St Kilda and Hawthorn before joining the Tigers before the 2013 season.
"It's a pretty tough job because it's a pretty brutal program," Balme said.
"It doesn't take much to derail it, but he's done a terrific job. He's really organised."
Jack Higgins, Jayden Short and Reece Conca played in Richmond's qualifying win against Hawthorn but did not play in last year's premiership side.
Brandon Ellis played VFL two weeks ago, while Balme said small forward Dan Butler (ankle) would push his case for a return today during the club's main training session for the week.
GAMES TALLIES 2017-2018 (of a possible 48 games)
Alex Rance 48
Dylan Grimes 47
Dustin Martin 47
Jack Riewoldt 46
Toby Nankervis 46
David Asbruy 46
Jason Catagna 46
Trent Cotchin 46
Shaun Grigg 46
Kane Lambert 45
Kamdyn McIntosh 44
Shane Edwards 43
Josh Caddy 43