Dion Prestia’s importance within Richmond’s line-up was highlighted yet again yesterday.

The triple premiership Tiger star midfielder, in his return to the playing field after missing four games with a hamstring injury, produced a typically top-class performance against Fremantle at Optus Stadium.

He had 31 disposals, four inside-50s, five intercepts, nine score involvements, five tackles, 371 metres gained and took five marks in the team’s four-point loss.

Frustratingly from Richmond coach Damien Hardwick’s perspective, injuries have restricted Prestia to only seven games this season after he managed just nine last year.

“It’s probably reflective of our season, really. Dion, when he plays, he’s a very, very good player. He helps us, there is no doubt about that,” Hardwick said.

07:46 Mins
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Round 20: Hardwick post-match

Damien Hardwick speaks to the media following the Round 20 match against Fremantle.

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“Those sort of transitional ‘mids’ are very damaging.

“On the other side of the equation, you look at (Andrew) Brayshaw, (Adam) Cerra and David Mundy, who is 45 years of age, I think. They keep getting the job done. They move from contest to contest. 

“Those players are hard to find, and when you get good ones, they make an incredible difference.

“We have Dion, who has been available at stages throughout the year, but it hasn’t been enough for us.”