Assistant coaches step up for Richmond - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Assistant coaches step up for Richmond

By Sam Lienert 18/07/2008 04:54:38 PM Comments (0)

Richmond assistant coach Brian Royal says plans are in place to make it easier for ill head coach Terry Wallace to guide the team through Saturday's crucial AFL match against Essendon.

Wallace has had to do much of his pre-match planning from a hospital bed this week, as he battles a chest infection, but the Tigers are confident he will be in the coaches' box at the MCG.

However, Royal said the Tigers' assistants would have a greater role than normal and were taking steps to ensure Wallace could fulfill his duties.

"He understands probably some of the harder things are climbing the 90 stairs to get up to the coaches' box at the MCG, so there's a lift and we'll put a few things in place which will allow Terry to get down onto the ground," Royal said.

"If it comes to the crunch where I've got to speak to the players at the breaks, we can work that out as the game goes on."

"All the coaches will (take on more responsibility), I've got no doubt about that.

"Terry has been laid up in hospital or in bed, he's going to be weak to a certain extent, so I think it's up to all our coaches to help Terry out."

After spending Thursday night in hospital, Wallace, who has been experiencing breathing difficulties, was at Punt Rd Oval to guide the team through a meeting indoors.

But he did not venture out onto the oval itself for the final training session, held in cold, drizzly conditions.

Meanwhile, Royal said the ruck battle between Richmond's Troy Simmonds and Essendon's David Hille was likely to be central to the outcome of Saturday's match.

Hille has been in superb form in recent weeks, as the Bombers have won their past four games to regain faint hopes of a finals bid.

Simmonds is seeking to recapture his form from earlier in the season, which was good enough to have him ruck for Victoria in the Hall of Fame tribute game in May.

"Troy was the in-form ruckman early on in the season and probably got in ahead of Hille in the all-star game, so it's a pretty crucial role for Simmo tomorrow," Royal said.

"It could have a fair bearing on the game, whoever wins that duel."

Both sides are missing important players, with the Bombers this week losing experienced midfielder Mark McVeigh to a knee injury, while speedster Andy Lovett is serving a club-imposed suspension for disciplinary reasons.

The Tigers are still without injured key forward Matthew Richardson and full-back Will Thursfield, although Thursfield was named as an emergency, after missing the past four games with a hamstring injury.

Whichever side loses tomorrow will have their finals hopes all but extinguished.

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