Richmond will be without All-Australian defender Dylan Grimes for at least the next three weeks.
The 29-year-old suffered a hamstring injury in last night’s 27-point win over West Coast and although Tigers coach Damien Hardwick labelled it on the “minor end of the scale”, the club is likely to be cautious given his soft tissue history.
Grimes, who will have scans today or tomorrow, will most likely miss the next two matches against Fremantle and Geelong with the final home and away game against Adelaide on September 19 taking place a little over three weeks after sustaining the injury.
It means the reigning premiers will need to find a replacement in the lead-up to the finals.
Captain Trent Cotchin floated some names including two-time premiership player Nathan Broad, who was recently omitted, and key defender Ryan Garthwaite, who has played nine career games.
“Obviously we’ve got ‘Broady’ who slipped out of the side a couple of weeks ago,” Cotchin said on SEN Breakfast.
“He’s played both tall and small, so he’s one option.
“We’ve also got a number of guys in our development squad that have been going really well in our scratch matches up here.
“‘Garthy’ has been up and down with a bit of soreness in his body but he’s a ready-made defender.
“And Ben Miller is one of or young boys who has also been going pretty well.”
The Tigers skipper feels that regardless of who comes in for Grimes, it will be the overall Richmond system that will override the loss of specific personnel.
“It will be interesting to see which way the coaches go but we’re really confident that it’s more a group down there,” he added.
“Obviously ‘Grimesy’ has been an amazing contributor to our group for a long period of time.
“We feel as though it's ‘plug in and play’ - I think that’s the term they use these days - but we are very confident that will be the case.”
Despite being without David Astbury and until recently Bachar Houli, the Tigers defence has managed to continually get the job done, in part thanks to the form of Noah Balta.
The 20-year-old has gone from strength to strength since returning to the side in Round 5 with last night being one of his best games for the club when taking nine marks from opposition kicks.
Cotchin was full of praise for the 23-game Balta who has held down a key role in 2020 with his raw athleticism and athletic ability a highlight.
“He’s a rare unit,” he said.
“I think if he was on a normal weights program he’d probably start pushing some serious weight around.
“But for a not even 21-year-old man he’s already on the veteran’s program for keeping weight off.
“He’s a pretty amazing athlete. He’s got so many different attributes.
“You know those guys that without warming up can kick it 60 (metres) and seem like they are always go, go, go.
“He’s just one of those guys who has got so much energy and never stops. He’s such a big unit. He’s a lot bigger than he seems, and add on an amazing leap.
“A couple of times last night he looked absolutely beaten and just springs up and takes a really good clunk. I think he had nine MOPs, so it’s pretty impressive for a young man.”
The Tigers momentarily moved into third position on the back of the impressive win over the Eagles ahead of next Wednesday night’s meeting with Fremantle at Metricon Stadium.