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Tough call on Higgins' omission

Hardwick previews Brisbane Damien Hardwick addresses the media at the Swinburne Centre ahead of the Round 4 match against the Lions.

IN NO way did Richmond coach Damien Hardwick enjoy omitting first-gamer Jack Higgins after a superb debut against Hawthorn last weekend.

And, when he found out the news Higgins had been left out of the side for the return of premiership midfielder Dion Prestia, nor did Hardwick's son, Benjamin.

Forward/midfielder Josh Caddy also returns for Saturday's match against Brisbane at the MCG after serving his one-game suspension, at the expense of Sam Lloyd.

"I got an abusive message from my son BJ, actually, after we dropped him (Higgins)," Hardwick joked on Friday.

"It was tough. Him and Sam Lloyd played their roles beautifully last week and we've just got two quality players coming back in.

"He still had a smile on his face, Jack. I think he appreciated the opportunity last week and he's going to be a really good player that kid.

"He just loves footy. He craves it. He's one of these guys that's first in and you've got to tell him to go home. They're the sorts of players I love to coach and if he continues to work hard, and I have no doubt he will, he's going to be a long-term Richmond player."

Higgins kicked two goals in his first AFL match, including a soccer-style volley that was nominated for the Goal of the Week.

Prestia is set to play his first game for the season after overcoming a glute strain that saw him as a late withdrawal for the Hawks game last weekend. The midfielder also battled an ankle and hamstring injuries in the lead up to the season.

Premiership defender Nathan Broad was also eligible for selection after serving his three-match club-imposed sanction, but has instead been named an emergency.

Hardwick said Broad was unlucky not to return straight to the senior side.

"We'd love to have him in the side but we felt those other boys deserve to keep their spots," Hardwick said.

"Once again he's one of those players we'd love to have in, but finding a spot for him is really hard at this stage.

"He knows he's a really valued player at our footy club."

Hardwick also said the Tigers' match committee had considered playing Ivan Soldo to partner Toby Nankervis in the ruck, against in-form big man Stefan Martin.

"Ivan came into calculations. We played Ivan last year and we did really well with that," Hardwick said.

"He'll come into calculations because he's playing too good a footy not to. What we've got to find is the right mix about Ivan playing ruck and taking 'Nank' away from his strength and playing him forward."