Richmond coach Damien Hardwick admits captain Trent Cotchin and wife Brooke have been downcast since the AFL club was fined for the latter’s COVID-19 protocol breach.
The Tigers were issued a $20,000 fine after Brooke visited a day spa on the Gold Coast last week.
The Cotchins have since offered to pay the fine and Brooke on Monday apologised via social media.
She also offered support to AFL Media journalist Mitch Cleary, who was stood down by the league over his decision to tweet a screenshot of Brooke’s initial Instagram post, which exposed her visiting the day spa.
Cleary was reinstated on Monday after outcry over the AFL’s decision.
“As Trent and Brooke do, they admitted they were at fault. It’s been tough on them,” Hardwick told reporters.
“Everyone’s up here trying to do the right thing but the reality is mistakes are going to be made.
“We’ve just got to understand that sometimes people are going to get things wrong, it’s not through any fault of their own, they just made an innocent mistake.”
Two-time premiership skipper Cotchin returned from three games out with a hamstring injury for the Tigers’ last-start 41-point victory over the Western Bulldogs.
Cotchin is a definite starter for Tuesday night’s clash with Brisbane but Hardwick conceded the Tigers will be cautious with the veteran midfielder during a heavy schedule of games.
After battling the Lions, Richmond will fly to take on ladder-leaders Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
Hardwick said the 30-year-old Cotchin will be “less likely” to play against the Power and could be rested.
In a boost for the Tigers as they continue to build momentum in their premiership defence, Nick Vlastuin has recovered from a calf injury and the dependable defender will play against Brisbane.
Key defender Jack Payne will debut for the Lions after veteran Grant Birchall was managed.
Brisbane are second on the ladder as one of the AFL’s in-form teams but they will have to overcome a 11-year hoodoo to improve their season record to 8-2.
Richmond have won their past 14 encounters with the Lions, dating back to 2009 and including last year’s qualifying final at the Gabba.
It is the longest-active winning streak by one club over another in the AFL.