Polak back for Tigers against Saints - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Polak back for Tigers against Saints

04/03/2009 07:31:55 PM Comments (0)

Eight months after being struck by a tram and suffering serious head injuries, Richmond defender Graham Polak will take another major step in his recovery on Friday when he plays in an AFL practice match.

The venue for Polak's first game against another top-flight team since the accident will be the Victorian regional city of Shepparton.

Tigers assistant coach David King said Polak would only play half of the game against St Kilda.

And in a sign that Polak continues to recover well, Richmond have shelved plans to move him to the long-term injury list for the 2009 season.

"We would think that unless he regresses pretty dramatically we would not be going down that line because his recovery has staggered us," Richmond football operations manager Ross Monaghan told the club's website.

"We would expect now that, given the run he's had in recent weeks, that it is most likely he will play some footy.

"At what level will be determined in weeks to come but Friday night will give us some indication."

But Monaghan would give no indication of when the 24-year-old Polak could be ready to return permanently to the senior lineup.

"No one is interested in putting a timeline on him because it is a week-to-week situation," Monaghan said.

"We will just see how he feels next week and what he does the following week will be determined by how he gets through this weekend's game."

Polak has also played in two internal practice matches this year.

The Tigers will rest most of their top players on Friday, including Ben Cousins, captain Chris Newman, Matthew Richardson, Brett Deledio and Nathan Foley.

As expected, Essendon lost top onballer Mark McVeigh for Friday night's NAB Cup semi-final against Collingwood at Etihad Stadium.

They have also rested Andrew Lovett and Dustin Fletcher.

The Bombers regained fellow midfielder Brent Stanton and top draft pick Michael Hurley has joined the squad after gall bladder surgery.

The Magpies are also weakened, with captain Nick Maxwell and ruckman Josh Fraser out of the side.

Collingwood named first-round draft pick Steele Sidebottom, Chris Dawes and Chris Bryan.

Jonathan Brown, Luke Power and Travis Johnstone join the Brisbane squad for their practice match on Friday in Cairns against Melbourne.

The Demons have recalled luckless key position player Jared Rivers, whose injury woes continued when he rolled his ankle in an intraclub game before the start of the NAB Cup.

Melbourne have left out Brad Miller and Jack Grimes.

Reigning Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney will play his first match of 2009 in the Western Bulldogs' practice game against Sydney on Saturday.

But Cooney, who is coming back after a knee operation and subsequent groin soreness, is still no certainty to be ready for round one of the premiership season.

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