Richmond star Tom Lynch has been ruled out of Friday night’s AFL qualifying final against Brisbane with a hamstring injury.
The key forward completed a light training session with teammates on Monday, after which coach Damien Hardwick declared Lynch’s progress looked “promising”.
But the Tigers decided hours later it would be too big a risk to play Lynch at the Gabba on Friday night, three weeks to the day since the injury.
“Collectively, we feel that Tom isn’t quite ready to return to play this week,” Richmond football performance manager Tim Livingstone said.
“We are confident we’ve made the right decision for both Tom and the team heading into this finals series.”
Lynch appears likely to return in Richmond’s second final, while Mabior Chol and Josh Caddy are leading the race to fill in for the Tigers’ leading goal-kicker this week.
It will come down to a question of structure as Hardwick weighs up how many tall forwards to take into the match.
“We’ve got an ideal look that it may be, but that’s not to say that it won’t differ with different personnel with those guys coming back,” Hardwick said.
“We’re working our way through that at this stage.”
Hardwick has no concerns about throwing Dion Prestia straight into a high-pressure final after a three-month injury lay-off.
Prestia went through complications after surgery on his ankle syndesmosis injury and has not played a senior match since round five.
But the Tigers’ reigning best-and-fairest has impressed at training and in match simulation over the past few days has been cleared to play against Brisbane.
“He was very good in our scrimmage that we had on the weekend and trained strongly again today,” Hardwick said.
“He hasn’t played for a long period of time but he’s got a fair base behind him.
“He’s been in the system for 10-odd years, so he’s got a good understanding of what he can and can’t do.
“The shortened quarters and the same numbers of interchange will certainly be of benefit, but we’re very confident he’ll play a good brand of footy for us.”