K rock Football

Grimes to get job on Buddy

Richmond defender Dylan Grimes. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

IN the absence of Alex Rance, Richmond will turn to in-form defender Dylan Grimes to take the battle to Sydney superstar Lance Franklin.

Rance and Franklin have staged some enthralling duels over the years but with the star Tiger sidelined for the AFL season with a knee injury, Grimes is just the man to take Buddy on.

The versatile defender was almost impassable in undermanned Richmond’s win over Port Adelaide and will need to play a key role if Damien Hardwick’s men are to improve their 2-2 record.

“Grimesy is probably the likely guy but Buddy plays different positions … sometimes he’s up the ground and sometimes he’s deep,” Hardwick said.

“As we do normally, there will be match-ups for up the ground, compared to when he’s in the cage.

“We’ve got some really athletic guys down there so we’d be happy with any one of those guys taking care of Buddy at stages.

“(But Dylan is) an incredible player, we’ve known that for a long time and that’s probably just starting to sink in beyond our four walls.

“There’s a reason he’s finished in the top five of our best-and-fairest for the last two or three years.”

Richmond welcome back Dustin Martin from suspension and Bachar Houli from a hamstring injury for Saturday night’s Marvel Stadium clash, with Jack Graham and Connor Menadue making way.

Debutants Ryan Clarke and James Rowbottom are in for the Swans who have dropped Nick Blakey and Justin McInerney.

Sydney (1-3) are off to their almost-customary slow start under coach John Longmire but that hasn’t stopped them playing finals in every one of the 2012 premiership coach’s eight seasons in charge.

“One thing I know about the Swans is that they never quite start off that well,” Hardwick said.

“It’s a general picture that they paint but they’re an incredibly competitive side that has been in every game they’ve played.

“They’re probably similar to us in that they’re not quite at their best but they’re certainly capable of flicking a switch.”

Swans veteran Kieren Jack, who was slowed by an off-season knee operation and played his first game in last week’s loss to Melbourne, will play his 250th AFL match.

© AAP 2019