HARD­WICK'S THREE WISHES AN­SWERED

Sunday Herald Sun - - Alf - CHRIS CA­VANAGH

HUN­DREDS of long-suf­fer­ing Rich­mond fans got out of bed early yes­ter­day in the hope of see­ing three things from the Tigers’ in­tra-club match at Punt Rd Oval.

Firstly, they hoped to see strong per­for­mances from new recruits Josh Caddy, Dion Pres­tia and Toby Nankervis.

Se­condly, they wanted to see a more free-flow­ing and at­tack­ing game plan af­ter the stag­nant and frus­trat­ing play that plagued Rich­mond’s 2016 cam­paign.

And just 13 days out from the club’s first pre-sea­son match against Ade­laide, they were pray­ing for no in­juries. Tick. Tick. Tick. The 24-year-old Caddy, who was re­cruited from Gee­long, was the stand­out from the 50 min­utes of match play, find­ing plenty of the ball through the mid­field and show­ing his class with a long goal from out­side 50m on the bound­ary line.

In his first com­pet­i­tive hitout since hav­ing knee surgery in July, Pres­tia, 24, moved well and also won his fair share of the footy on man­aged match time.

Nankervis, 22, also per­formed strongly in the ruck, the for­mer Syd­ney Swan hav­ing quickly be­come a favourite of coach Damien Hard­wick and look­ing set to as­sume du­ties as the club’s No.1 ruck­man this year.

Rich­mond mid­fielder Kane Lam­bert said the trio of recruits had all fit­ted in.

“To see Nanks and Pres­tia and Caddy as well out on the park and see what they’ve got to of­fer, we’re re­ally ex­cited about what they can bring to this footy club,” Lam­bert, 25, said. “(Nankervis has) been great. “You don’t want to be on the op­po­si­tion side be­cause he’ll go right through you, Toby. But that’s what we want.

“He brings ag­gres­sion and I think he’s go­ing to bring a touch of class as well.”

While the in­tra-club match was played with a less-con­gested, 16-a-side for­mat, the ball moved quickly from end to end in a stark con­trast to Rich­mond’s game last year.

Lam­bert said there had been some fo­cus on mov­ing the ball quicker over the off sea­son.

“We’re al­ways try­ing to change a few dif­fer­ent things from last year but ob­vi­ously the footy’s pretty hot out there, the boys want to get their hands on it,” Lam­bert said.

“So it prob­a­bly was a bit too of­fen­sive but we’ll work on that through­out the year.”

A slimmed-down Nick Vlas­tuin played the match in the mid­field as he pre­pares for a shift out of de­fence, while Jack Riewoldt was lively in the for­ward line.

Colling­wood v Essendon

Eti­had Sta­dium, 7.40pm

Hawthorn v Gee­long

Launce­s­ton, 7.40pm

GWS Giants v West Coast

Nar­ran­dera, 2.05pm

W.Bull­dogs v Mel­bourne

Whit­ten Oval, 4.40pm

Syd­ney v North Mel­bourne

Coffs Har­bour, 2.05pm

Gold Coast v Bris­bane Lions

Broad­beach, 4.40pm

Trent Cotchin (top) is wrapped up in a Tyson Sten­gle tackle in Rich­mond’s in­tra-club prac­tice match at Punt Road Oval yes­ter­day; Dion Pres­tia earns a drink (in­set) and Josh Caddy pre­pares to pass. Pic­tures: MARK DADSWELL

WEEK 1

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