Richmond has made two changes to its lineup for tomorrow night’s blockbuster Qualifying Final against Brisbane at the Gabba, with Dion Prestia and Shai Bolton returning to the side.
It will be Prestia’s first game at AFL level since he injured his ankle in Round 5, while Bolton has had ample time to recover from a corked calf which ruled him out of Round 18 a fortnight ago.
Josh Caddy and Jack Ross are the two unlucky players that have been omitted.
Speaking on AFL 360 this week, coach Damien Hardwick said that while Prestia might be a “little bit rusty”, he had full confidence the reigning Jack Dyer Medallist would perform to a high level.
“Dion is relatively experienced with games played (160), and big games (eight finals) as well, so we think he will come in and really add to us on the night,” he said.
“He is just such a great two-way runner and those guys are very few and far between in AFL circles, if he was available to play, we were always going to pick him.”
Hardwick added that Bolton would continue playing primarily a midfield role, even with Prestia and Shane Edwards both back in the team.
“He just gave us a real different look through the midfield throughout the year and we want to give him the opportunity to play in there, in a big game final,” he said.
Bolton has been a shining light for the Tigers, averaging 16 disposals and close to a goal a game this season.
Oleg Markov, Nathan Broad, Caddy and Ross have been named as emergencies.
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Richmond’s Qualifying Final team:
B David Astbury, Dylan Grimes, Noah Balta
HB Bachar Houli, Nick Vlastuin, Liam Baker
C Kamdyn McIntosh, Jack Graham, Marlion Pickett
HF Shai Bolton, Dustin Martin, Jason Castagna
F Daniel Rioli, Mabior Chol, Jack Riewoldt
Foll Toby Nankervis, Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards
I/C Jayden Short, Dion Prestia, Kane Lambert, Jake Aarts
Emg Oleg Markov, Josh Caddy, Nathan Broad, Jack Ross
IN: Dion Prestia, Shai Bolton
OUT: Josh Caddy (omitted), Jack Ross (omitted)