Coach Adem Yze is serving as injury-hit Richmond's not-so-secret weapon as it plots an upset of flag contender Melbourne, midfielder Jack Graham says.

Yze has an intimate knowledge of the Demons, having spent three seasons as an assistant to Simon Goodwin, including in the drought-breaking 2021 premiership campaign, before taking over as Damien Hardwick's full-time successor at Punt Road this season.

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The 46-year-old's familiarity with Melbourne's playing list and game style has been crucial in Richmond's preparation for Wednesday night's match at the MCG as it seeks to improve on a 1-5 start to the season.

Graham says Yze has spoken to the Tigers about Melbourne's ball movement, "what they want to do at stoppages" and "how they'll flip with certain players".


"He's given us a good insight on how we're going to tackle that," Graham told reporters.

Richmond has a long list of key players on the sidelines, including Tim Taranto, Tom Lynch, Josh Gibcus, Noah Balta and Dion Prestia.

But it expects some relief when midfielder Jacob Hopper (knee) and veteran defender Dylan Grimes (wrist) return from injuries against Melbourne.

"They both trained today and looked good, so hopefully they pull up all right," Graham said.

"I'm pretty sure they'll put their hands up for selection."

Jacob Hopper handballs during Richmond's match simulation against Melbourne on February 18, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

The Tigers will start rank outsiders against a Melbourne outfit that had won four straight games before a last-start loss to Brisbane.

"I definitely back us in to be competitive. That's what we base our game on – pressure," Graham said.

"Yeah, we'd love some boys out there that aren't, but it gives opportunities for our younger boys to step up and own that."

After a tough start to the season, Richmond has enjoyed a 10-day break during its bye week to rest and reset following a horror round five loss away to West Coast.

"The extra couple of days gives your body a bit of a rest and hopefully we get a few boys back (soon)," Graham said.

"Injuries haven't been on our side but it's come at a good time to refresh and go again."

Graham had a delayed start to the season due to a quad injury but has built into the campaign, averaging 17.5 disposals and 7.5 tackles in his two games back.