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Tigers won't complicate winning formula

Jennifer Phelan, AFL Media  February 12, 2018 5:27 PM

Castagna on community camp Jason Castagna speaks to the media from Bendigo.
Jason Castagna says the Tigers will largely stick to the game plan that won them the 2017 flag - AFL,Richmond Tigers,Daniel Rioli,Jason Castagna

Jason Castagna says the Tigers will largely stick to the game plan that won them the 2017 flag

DON'T expect the reigning premiers to bring overly complicated changes to their game plan this season when they attempt to defend their 2017 flag, says Richmond forward Jason Castagna.

While there will no doubt be tweaks to the way the Tigers play this season – as forecast by coach Damien Hardwick late last year – Castagna said they won't be dramatic.

"Our game plan is pretty simple, it worked well last year and we just want to play to our strengths," Castagna said on Monday. 

"We've each got our own individual strengths and if we play to that and bring our tackle pressure, then I think we'll go well." 

Castagna said the Tigers' pre-season had featured a good mix of fun and hard work, with the club deservingly celebrating their first premiership year since 1980.

But, while the players and coaches hadn't spoken specifically about the perils of extended festivities, they were well aware of the need to quickly move on. 

"We definitely enjoyed and looked back on what a good year last year was, but as soon as we started pre-season and came back into it, it's a new year and we can't really look back on last year, we've got to focus on this year," he said.

"We didn't see last year as the end – it was more so the start to a journey.

"We're looking at this as just to keep going up from here, so I guess we can definitely keep improving." 

Castagna said premiership forward Daniel Rioli was "going well" in his rehabilitation from the broken foot he suffered in the final quarter of the Grand Final victory over Adelaide. 

Rioli needed surgery to fix the left foot injury and spent a large part of the off-season in a moon boot, before he finally resumed running last month in the Tigers' Maroochydore training camp.  

"It was a pretty nasty injury, but he's done all his rehab and he's doing everything he can," Castagna said.

"He's just made some progress recently and he'll be back soon enough, it will be good to have him back."

The Tigers have been conservative with Rioli's recovery, with the 43-game forward essentially needing to be taught to run again after such a long period with his foot immobilised.  

He is considered a touch-and-go prospect for round one.

Richmond's home and away season starts on March 22 against Carlton at the MCG.