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Fitness concerns threaten to derail Tigers' premiership attempt

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23rd September, 2019
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Jack Graham’s premiership dream appeared over when he dislocated his shoulder against Geelong, but Richmond’s midfield bull hasn’t give up hope of playing in the AFL grand final.

Graham remains a long shot to play, but has been heartened by news his right shoulder wasn’t as badly damaged as first thought.

Graham and Nathan Broad, who was concussed in the preliminary final win over the Cats, are the two main injury concerns for the Tigers for Saturday’s premiership decider against GWS.

Graham dislocated his shoulder in the first quarter of Friday night’s clash at the MCG, but was able to play out the match with the joint heavily strapped.

“He’s in pretty good spirits,” Cotchin said of Graham at Punt Road Oval on Monday.

“His shoulder probably isn’t as bad as they expected, but it will be just one of those ones that they need to make sure about.”

Broad copped dual blows – a heavy knock from a teammate’s hip then a knee to the head by an opponent – in the same third-quarter incident that ended his night.

“Broady’s the same (as Graham), he’s up and about,” Cotchin said.

“He was really good even the day after the match.

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“I don’t know what the exact protocol is.

“I’m sure he has to tick off a couple of things, but he should be OK.”

Jack Ross and Kamdyn McIntosh loom as the likely replacements if needed after they were held out of the Richmond team that won the VFL grand final.

Cotchin was fortunate to escape serious injury himself when he clashed legs with Geelong skipper Joel Selwood.

Dustin Martin, who was slated to appear alongside Cotchin at Monday’s press conference but was a late scratching, also appeared to be carrying a corked leg muscle against the Cats.

“He’s got more important things to do,” Cotchin joked about Martin’s no show.

“He’s not complaining (about the knock), and he can moan a bit, but I think he’s pretty good.

“Much like me, probably carrying on a bit too much. We’ll both be fine … three training sessions this week and we’ll be right to play on Saturday.”

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Notoriously media-averse at the best of times, Martin’s absence was explained as little more than cold feet ahead of Monday’s packed press conference.

Cotchin was typically philosophical when he spoke to reporters ahead of his side’s second grand final appearance in three years.

Whether he finishes the week as a two-time premiership captain or not, the star midfielder will be content that the Tigers have done everything they can to achieve that goal.

“If I’m completely honest, for me, it’s not about holding the cup up for a second time,” he said.

“It’s about creating a culture that will live beyond my time at the footy club and the other players that have been such a big part of that.

“That’s what makes me so proud of particularly this year with so many guys that have grown.

“Shane Edwards was captain for a big chunk of the year, other guys developing right underneath him, that’s what makes the football club and our environment so special.

“That’s what I care about, not so much the achievement at the end.”

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