The only automatic selections sidelined through injury are champion defender Alex Rance – who will meet with his surgeon on Friday to find out whether he is any chance to make a dramatic return from the knee reconstruction he had in March – captain Trent Cotchin, impressive recruit Sydney Stack and Jack Higgins.
The club is likely to be cautious with Cotchin as he has injured his hamstring three times this season and may give him an extra week to recover. Stack is more likely to return from his calf injury in round 22 than next week, although the Tigers have not ruled him out of contention to play against Carlton.
Higgins is out for the season after suffering a brain bleed that required surgery.
Tigers’ coach Damien Hardwick said it was a great position for the club to be in, particularly given the long injury list that threatened to derail their chances early in the season.
“We’re very fortunate with the players we have got playing some great footy down there and it puts pressure on the guys that are playing in the senior side,” Hardwick said.
“We are in a really solid position where we know that if someone gets hurt we can bring someone in to replicate that part of the game.”
Richmond’s final three games are against the much-improved Carlton as well as premiership contenders West Coast and the Brisbane Lions.
The draw means the Tigers control their own destiny as they will be able to move ahead of the Eagles and the Lions into at least second spot if they defeat them, presuming they take four points against the Blues next week.
“The competition is in a pretty good space at the moment. There are a lot of sides that are capable of playing some really good footy and beating other sides and we’re probably in that boat.”
Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.