RICHMOND young gun Josh Gibcus will miss Saturday's game against Hawthorn after entering the AFL's health and safety protocols.

The 19-year-old has quickly emerged as one of the best players from the 2021 NAB AFL Draft class, playing seven of the first eight games after being selected with pick No. 9.

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Hardwick previews Hawthorn

Damien Hardwick addresses the media at the Swinburne Centre ahead of the Round 9 match against Hawthorn.

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The Tigers are expected to regain Dion Prestia and Nick Vlastuin this weekend after the star pair missed last Saturday's dazzling win over Collingwood at the MCG due to illness.

Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin has trained strongly this week after making a smooth return to the game in round eight, banking extra conditioning sessions at Punt Road as he looks to build his tank up after taking personal leave.
 
Off-season acquisition Robbie Tarrant is no guarantee to replace Gibcus in Richmond's back six, despite being available for selection after playing against Port Melbourne in the VFL last weekend.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said the 33-year-old is struggling with a lingering hip issue but is in contention to face the Hawks, along with untried rookie Bigoa Nyuon, who has been pressing for a debut in recent weeks.

"Robbie Tarrant will certainly put his hand up. We're also pleased with how 'Biggie' Nyuon is going as well. We'll look at both of those two boys today," Hardwick told reporters on Thursday.

"Robbie has a bit of a hip complaint that he's been nursing. He's an experienced campaigner and knows how to play the game. We'll have a look at both those boys."

Triple premiership star Kane Lambert has made an impressive return to the AFL across the past fortnight, collecting 22 disposals against West Coast and 18 against Collingwood, after overcoming a chronic long-term hip injury that threatened to end his career.
 
Hardwick praised Lambert's determination to play with an issue that would have forced others into retirement, but said the 30-year-old is a week-to-week proposition due to the state of his body.

"He puts his heart and soul into this. Waited a long time to get his AFL debut – he missed a lot of drafts – and he's not prepared to let his AFL career go. He'll do everything he can to play as long as he can. He is an incredible example. Any other player wouldn’t be playing, guaranteed," Hardwick said.
 
"He is week-to-week. He'll give me an understanding of how he feels today and whether he's right to go. Kane is always in my side, but it's basically up to Kane whether he plays or not. He'll train today and see how he feels, then give me a nod nod, wink wink if he's right to go. Otherwise we'll find another soldier. Hopefully he gets up."