RICHMOND is growing in confidence that gun youngster Jack Higgins will put himself in the club's selection mix following a recovery from brain surgery midway through last year.

Higgins has returned to contact training just months after he was diagnosed with a brain bleed, having reported blurred vision and headaches last July.

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The lively and versatile Higgins was among the standouts in match simulation drills last week to firmly put himself in the frame for a return in the early stages of the upcoming season.

"It's been incredibly tough to go through what he's had to go through," Richmond coach Damien Hardwick told

"Two significant operations, his skull being ripped open, fusing blood vessels and to come back through some blurred vision and a little bit of discomfort, to see his week on the training track … it doesn't look like he's missed a beat.

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"I remember speaking to Paul Connors, his manager, and saying he looks as good as he's ever looked. We're really excited about what he's going to bring this year.

Speaking to Richmond Media last month, the charismatic Higgins said there were moments when he thought he may never play football again, after his surgery left him hospitalised for two weeks.

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However, he has made a strong recovery and appears destined to make his return to the playing field in the opening weeks of the upcoming season after an impressive training block this summer.

"He's dominating match practice," Hardwick said.

"He was flying last Thursday. It's a credit to him. It was really tough for him, for our footy club and for his family. They weren't quite sure which way he'd go or whether he'd play again, but he's doing everything right. We can't wait to see him back on the field."