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Vlastuin, Caddy out of Anzac Day eve

Hardwick previews Anzac Day Eve Damien Hardwick addresses the media at the MCG ahead of the Round 5 blockbuster against Melbourne.
Josh Caddy has missed Richmond's Monday training session - AFL,Richmond Tigers,Josh Caddy,Nick Vlastuin
Josh Caddy has missed Richmond's Monday training session

PREMIERSHIP duo Nick Vlastuin and Josh Caddy will miss Tuesday night's Anzac Day Eve clash against Melbourne after failing to train on Monday.

The Tigers will make at least three changes for the blockbuster at the MCG with Nathan Broad almost a certainty to face the Demons in what will be his first AFL game since last year's Grand Final triumph.  

Vlastuin and Caddy were notable absentees at Punt Road while Broad trained strongly after being held over from Sunday's VFL win against the Casey Demons.  

The Tigers will lose at least three premiership players for the game given youngster Jack Graham is serving a one-match suspension.  

"Unfortunately, Nick and Josh won't make it for the game – they're a little bit short at the moment," coach Damien Hardwick said on Monday.  

"We've got some replacements ready to go for those boys.  

"It's disappointing but that's the nature of our game. You lose a couple and you bring a couple in.  

"We've got some players who have been in great form in the VFL. While it's disappointing to lose Jack, we're happy with the replacements we're going to bring in."  

Sam Lloyd and Jack Higgins were also part of the squad of 22 that trained on Monday after sitting out the club's VFL win.  

Higgins looks set to play his second AFL game after his exuberant debut in round three, with a big stage in front of a projected 87,000-plus crowd sure to suit his temperament.  

"He's one of those players, isn't he?" Hardwick said.  

"He takes great delight in everything he does at the footy club and he'll be one of those players who'll certainly be in contention this afternoon when we have match committee."  

Brownlow medallist Dustin Martin played predominantly forward and kicked six goals against the Lions last Saturday, with Hardwick backing his midfield bull to keep mixing up his role at his own will.  

"It was probably more circumstances last week and it changes week to week," he said.  

"I'd love to say I've got a say over it, but Dusty dictates where he goes and I'm happy to back him in either way.  

"He's got an understanding of what his opponent is doing to him and where he can best get an advantage from that and that's why we love the great players.  

"We'll continue to back those players to do that."  

Hardwick is predicting a high-pressure contest against the embattled Demons, which comes hand in hand with a League-wide trend where games are starting to lose their free-flowing, high-scoring nature.  

He said the change would suit his side, which secured last year's flag on the back of their pressure-based game.  

"The game is a little bit more open and you would have seen on the weekend how the games have tightened up and the scores have come down," he said.  

"The players are starting to get a little bit tired as the season progresses so the game changes a little bit.  

"It becomes a little bit more contested, a bit more high pressure, which suits us."