Richmond has gotten itself back on the AFL winners’ list, but it has come at a major cost with premiership stars Trent Cotchin, Dion Prestia, Toby Nankervis and Tom Lynch all injured in the win over Melbourne.
After a draw and two consecutive defeats since the AFL’s restart, Damien Hardwick’s men were under pressure but got back to some of their best form in a 12. 7. (79) to 8. 4. (52) win at the MCG.
However, the win was soured by the injury news, particularly to Prestia, the club’s reigning best and fairest winner, who looked despondent after suffering a syndesmosis injury.
The incident occurred in the final quarter, where Prestia’s leg awkwardly bent under him in a tackle.
Prestia was left writhing in pain on Melbourne’s half-forward flank before being carried off by the team’s trainers, unable to place any weight on his left leg.
The 27-year-old confirmed that he had injured his ankle after the win, with Tigers coach Damien Hardwick comforting his star man on the bench as he looked to be fighting back tears.
“It’s my ankle, so we’ll find out tomorrow. It didn’t feel too good when it first happened, but we’ll see how we go,” Prestia told Seven after the win.
Prestia’s ankle issue was another blow after the Tigers lost both Cotchin (hamstring) and Nankervis (syndesmosis) for the majority of the final quarter.
Following the win, Hardwick ruled out Prestia, Cotchin and Nankervis for Round 6, but was optimistic that Lynch would be able to play despite his broken finger.
“Tom (Lynch) has a broken finger and we’ll see how that goes. He played out the game so we hope it’ll be OK even though it’s come at a hefty price,” he said.
“Those boys will be back, we’ll get an opportunity to see other players fill some roles which excites us, we’ve been down this path before.
“We’ve dealt with it before and I’m sure we’ll dealt with it again.”
Cotchin, who has experienced soft-tissue trouble over the last few seasons, confirmed that he had pinged his hamstring after the game.
“I’m not sure yet, but I think a tiny little hammy. It is what it is, it’s a part of the game we play,” he told Seven after the win.
Richmond’s injury woes were not restricted to those who finished the game on the bench, with Hardwick confirming that star forward Tom Lynch had broken his finger in the win.
After the injury in the first quarter, Lynch played the remainder of the game in a glove on his right hand, and had minimal impact before a pair of goals in the final quarter to seal the win.