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Tigers to assess fitness of several stars

Hardwick previews Crows Damien Hardwick addresses the media at the Swinburne Centre ahead of the Round 13 clash against the Crows.

RICHMOND will be assessing the fitness of several stars ahead of Thursday night's clash against Adelaide.

Dustin Martin (knock) and Nick Vlastuin (hip) were required to get through Tuesday's main training session – the only one between last Friday's loss and Thursday's game – before getting the tick to play the Crows.

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Martin trained with the main group, while Vlastuin ran laps along with Shane Edwards (light training load), Jayden Short (elbow) and Toby Nankervis (adductor).

Kane Lambert (Achilles tendinitis) took part in a walk-through handball drill with the Tigers' growing rehab group but then left the field.

"[Martin's] fine. This will be our first training session today, but our indication is that he will play. No problems," coach Damien Hardwick said.

Hardwick said Brandon Ellis, who missed the thumping loss to Geelong with a groin complaint, was available for selection, while David Astbury (hamstring) won't play.

Defender Nathan Broad, who was omitted last week and had 19 touches in the VFL, will also come under consideration and is a "possibility".

Hardwick also touched on the contested ball issue that has plagued the Tigers in the last few weeks, losing the count by 22 against North Melbourne and 33 against Geelong.

"To be beaten in the contested manner again on the weekend was disappointing and to be fair, we are working on some things," Hardwick said.

"We understand what the problem is, we're just continuing to work through that part of our game to get a better result from that.

"That hopefully will take not as long as we think, if that makes sense, because it does take a bit of lag to catch up. We're understanding why the issues are occurring, we just need to continue working on a solution, which will take a little bit of time."

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The coach said the contested ball problem was a combination of personnel and structure.

"[There are] some things that we're doing in our game that we're not doing to the level we'd like.

"Once again, we do realise this, we're training this and there is a little bit of time it takes to get these things ironed out. We're hoping it bounces back on Thursday night."

Young defender Ryan Garthwaite (eight games) will once again have a formidable opponent in either Taylor Walker or Josh Jenkins after lining up on Tom Hawkins.

"'Garthy', to me, he's 20 years of age playing against some of the best forwards in the competition, and you don't often get to do that at the age of 20 in a side like ours," Hardwick said.

"We're really confident he's learning some things, he played better again on the weekend and he's certainly taken his game to a higher level every time he takes to the park.

"We look at it now in isolation, we sit there and go, 'he's probably getting beaten at stages,' but the reality is, it's only going to help in the long term, and it'll certainly help us in the long term as well."

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