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Richmond list assessment: Defenders

Talking Tigers: pre-season review In a breathtaking debut live performance, Talking Tigers paid special tribute to Richmond's 1967 premiership hero 'Bull' Richardson, who passed away last week, had a comprehensive wrap-up of the pre-season period, introduced some new segments, and interviewed the Club's General Manager of Football Dan Richardson.
Alex Rance of the Tigers in action during the 2015 NAB Challenge Week 4 match between the Richmond Tigers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne on March 21, 2015. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Alex Rance will again play a key role in the Richmond defence in 2015

On the eve of the 2015 season, we look at each of Richmond’s playing lines.  Today, it’s the defenders.

David Astbury: 
Has effectively completed a double pre-season since recovering from a dislocated knee cap last year and will form a key part of the back six. Hasn't missed a beat in training and has impressed with his growing leadership traits.

Jake Batchelor: After working his way into the senior team in the second half of last season, Batchelor is looking to secure a role across half-back in 2015. Has used his size well in training and was impressive rebounding in the pre-season challenges matches.

Jason Castagna: Produced an eye-catching performance against the Bulldogs, using his speed and rebounding ability and winning 12 possessions. The rookie recruit is likely to spend the season in the VFL where improving his disposal efficiency will be a focus.

Troy Chaplin: Played every game last season and shapes as a wise head in the backline again in 2015. Has dropped weight and is moving better this pre-season, completing all work required of him. Was an impressive performer in two pre-season appearances.

Matt Dea: An attacking and versatile small defender, Dea has been managed because of some niggles and soreness in his sixth pre-season. He did not feature in the pre-season challenge matches and is looking to return early in the season.

Todd Elton: The tall defender was impressive in the opening pre-season game, shutting down Tom Boyd and proving he will add depth in the backline key posts. Has been managed at times over the summer but has a good fitness base and is one of the Tigers' most durable players.

Dylan Grimes: The versatile defender played a key role in the pre-season, and will likely settle as a third tall defender this season. Valued for his ability to play tall or small, he has enjoyed an injury-free pre-season and has built his speed and endurance.

Bachar Houli: Will play a high half-back role for the Tigers this season, utilising his ability to push onto a wing when needed. Has been running like a midfielder over the pre-season and featured prominently in the final two pre-season games.

Ben Lennon: A solid performer in pre-season training, Lennon can be used as a half-forward or half-back but he has done the majority of his work with the defenders. Has rebounded well from hip surgery at the end of last season.

Kamdyn McIntosh: A terrific pre-season has seen the 21-year-old settle among the Tigers' top four runners, making him one the club's most improved trainers. He is handling the workload better in his third pre-season and will push for wing and half-back roles at AFL level.

Steven Morris: After recovering from a shoulder injury pre-Christmas, the small defender appears set for a shift forward as a replacement for the retired Jake King. The hard-nosed Tiger will be expected to create scoring opportunities with his defensive pressure in the new role.

Chris Newman:  The veteran has completed most of the pre-season training post-Christmas, but minor heart surgery set him back on the eve of the season.  He has trained with the defenders and forwards, with the Tigers keen to use him in both roles this season.

Alex Rance: An impressive pre-season has him well-poised to back up his All Australian 2014 campaign. The Tigers are keen to give their young key defenders more game time, which would free Rance up to play more versatile roles. Barely missed a session.

Nick Vlastuin: Entering his third season, Vlastuin is shaping as the Tigers' No.1 small defender in 2015. Impressive in the pre-season in a lockdown role, he is also going to be a preferred ball-user out of defence and has the ability to re-join the midfield rotation when needed.