Richmond will look to lean on its recent big-game experience when it takes on Essendon in the preliminary final of the Robert Rose Foundation Victorian AFL Wheelchair Carnival on Sunday.
The truncated three-week tournament has included consecutive weekends of round-robin fixtures between the competition’s five teams. This Sunday’s action will feature two preliminary finals, followed by the decider soon after.
The Tigers, who won the 2019 premiership, albeit with a vastly different lineup, finished in third place on the ladder with a 3-5 record, while Sunday morning's opponent the Bombers won seven of their eight games.
Essendon is playing in its first Wheelchair final while the Tigers made consecutive Grand Finals in 2018 and 2019.
Star forward Chris Henderson, who, along with premiership players Vincent Naidu, Miranda Charlton, Ben Milton and Yasmina McGlone remain in the side, said the Tigers were in a transition phase, building for a full-length season next year.
“We have got a fairly new team this year and a couple of rookies. We are getting everyone used to the way we play, but we look pretty competitive and are giving a good account of ourselves,” he said.
“When you get into a chair, and the ball bounces, it is pretty competitive, but it has been a lot of fun.”
Richmond has fallen to Essendon by narrow margins the past two weeks, with the Bombers winning an entertaining game (49-46) a fortnight ago and by 13 points (38-25) last Sunday.
Richmond’s clash with Essendon is scheduled for 10.35am, with the winner to meet either St Kilda or Hawthorn shortly after at 11.45am.
All games will be broadcast live via the Victorian Wheelchair Football League Facebook.