Richmond captain Trent Cotchin expects Bachar Houli to face Collingwood when the AFL season resumes on Thursday night despite the All-Australian defender’s fitness concerns.
Houli missed the Tigers’ round-one win over Carlton with a calf injury and re-injured the muscle during the AFL shutdown period.
The 32-year-old was still on limited duties when Richmond returned to full training late last month but Cotchin told reporters on Tuesday his premiership teammate’s condition had improved.
“He’s telling everyone he is (right to go),” Cotchin said.
“He took part in our little scratchy (practice match) last week and he’s in really good nick, and he’s nearly ready.
“I’m sure he’s one of those ones that the conditioning staff, medicos and coaches will all be discussing.”
Cotchin endured his own injury woes last year, managing only 14 games because of hamstring issues, but recovered to play a key role in Richmond’s premiership win.
The 30-year-old skipper said he is fit for the season resumption and has not had to taper his training program during the short preparation.
“We’ve put a lot of trust and faith into our conditioning staff and medicos and they’ve been amazing with their support through the (shutdown period),” Cotchin said.
“I’m really confident in the body and that we’ve prepared ourselves really well.”
Cotchin expects Dylan Grimes will get the job on dangerous Collingwood forward Jordan De Goey but is unsure how the Tigers will line up in the ruck.
They are weighing up whether to use Toby Nankervis and Ivan Soldo in tandem, as they did in round one, or use a part-timer as the second ruckman against a Magpies side that will be without American tall Mason Cox.