AFL: Richmond key defender Josh Gibcus to miss Hawthorn clash after entering Covid-19 protocols

Marc McGowanNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Richmond has lost promising key defender Josh Gibcus to Covid-19 protocols but still overlooked high-profile recruit Robbie Tarrant as he struggles with a hip issue.

The Tigers instead turned to 197cm debutant Bigoa Nyuon to fill Gibcus’ void against Hawthorn on Saturday, with premiership stars Dion Prestia and Nick Vlastuin (non-Covid illness) returning after missing the win over Collingwood.

Dashing backman Hugo Ralphsmith (broken ribs) will resume in the VFL after being sidelined for three games, while veteran Shane Edwards will be managed.

The athletic Gibcus has played all bar one match this season since being the No.9 pick in last year’s draft and already looms as a major piece of the club’s future.

Tarrant was managed for Richmond’s round 7 clash with West Coast and wasn’t selected for the Magpies match either, with coach Damien Hardwick revealing post-match the ex-Kangaroo was battling a hip problem.

The 32-year-old isn’t on the Tigers’ official injury list and played at second-tier level last week, so it is unclear where he fits in the immediate plans after signing a two-year deal in October.

Kenyan-born Nyuon, who is one of eight siblings, has impressed in the VFL with his intercept marking and amassed 18 disposals, seven marks and six spoils last weekend.

Hardwick was thrilled to regain Prestia, who was dealing with achilles and soleus muscle tightness before his week off, and backed him to make an immediate impact.

“He’s had as good a pre-season as he’s ever had in his time at the club, so we’re really bullish about his return (but) every now and then he’s going to miss some games,” he said.

It’s just the nature of the industry and the nature of Dion, really, but he’s got a big body of work behind him.

“We’re very confident once he gets back in and gets up and going; he’ll be an incredibly valuable player for us.

“He’s obviously an incredible player and one of our very best, so we look forward to welcoming him back this week.”

Hardwick will leave a decision on whether Kane Lambert plays against the Hawks to the veteran midfielder, after two AFL games back from a hip issue.

The Tigers opted not to send Lambert in for surgery and instead eased him back through second-tier level before his AFL return but he will require ongoing management to play.

“He puts his heart and soul into this. He waited a long time to get his AFL debut and missed a lot of drafts,” Hardwick said.

“He’s not prepared to let his career go and he’ll do everything he can to play as long as he (can).

“He’s an incredible example for any player who probably didn’t think they had a chance, but when they do get the chance, of how to stay in there, so any other player wouldn’t be playing – guaranteed.

“He’s just hard, tough and he’ll do anything to get his body right to give his all for the Richmond footy club. He’s an incredible warrior.”

Originally published as AFL: Richmond key defender Josh Gibcus to miss Hawthorn clash after entering Covid-19 protocols

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