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Astbury a certain starter for Swans clash

David Astbury says he'll be fit to face the Swans after withdrawing from the clash against Geelong - AFL,Richmond Tigers,David Astbury
David Astbury says he'll be fit to face the Swans after withdrawing from the clash against Geelong

RICHMOND defender David Astbury has declared himself a certain starter for the Tigers' clash with Sydney on the other side of this week's bye.

Astbury, 27, was a late withdrawal from Sunday's win over Geelong with the ankle he injured last week against Port Adelaide.

The Tigers will now have this weekend off, which means Astbury has another 10 days before he'll need to suit up to face the Swans at Etihad Stadium.

"I think just not playing yesterday and not feeling too sore today gives me every opportunity [to play], and hopefully it gives me a good platform for the second half of the year," Astbury told reporters on Monday.

"I'm looking forward for another really big contest against Sydney."

Astbury played out the round 12 game against the Power but struggled to get the swelling of his ankle under control in the week that followed.

He was ruled out on Saturday night, with debutant Ryan Garthwaite coming in to replace him against the Cats.

"They gave me every opportunity to get up, but I think we made a really good, responsible decision given the situation we were presented with," he said.

"I trained on Saturday and it was still a little bit niggly.

"It was a really long week of just trying to get the swelling down and I did everything I could and gave myself every opportunity, but it just didn't quite get over the line. 

"I was pretty close and eager to play but I think we made the right call."

The Tigers are also hoping to have Dion Prestia (calf) available for round 15 with the midfielder last playing in round seven.

However, Bachar Houli may miss another week with the groin he injured back in round 10.

Meanwhile, the Tigers are on top of the ladder for the first time since round eight having beaten the Cats in an enthralling heavyweight battle at the MCG.

While Astbury said the Tigers' best football was still in front of them, he considered his team a better outfit than in their 2018 premiership-winning season.

"I really believe that. We probably timed it really well last year, but I think we're a more capable team this year," he said.

"We're looking forward to showcasing that.

"I think any team would take 10-3 going into their bye weekend … it gives us a good platform to really launch into the second half of the year.

"It's been well documented we still think our best football is ahead of us and we think we're going to launch a solid attack on the back half so we're looking forward to it."