Wallace defends playing injured star - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallace defends playing injured star

By Guy Hand 26/04/2009 03:46:47 PM Comments (0)

Richmond have defended making injured Matthew Richardson play on to help them to their first win of the AFL season - a 36-point upset of North Melbourne on Saturday night.

Richardson injured a buttock muscle early in the second quarter of the 13.16 (94) to 7.16 (58) win at Etihad Stadium and spent most of the term on the bench.

But the 34-year-old was sent limping back into the fray midway through the third quarter with the game in the balance.

Only when the match was safely won in the final quarter did Richardson leave the field, though he appeared to have done no further damage.

He had little impact and was clearly hampered by the problem, and has a long history of soft tissue injuries.

The Tigers had come under fire for a similar incident in which star recruit Ben Cousins was sent back on to the field by medical staff after being in discomfort during their heavy round one loss to Carlton.

Cousins eventually broke down with a hamstring injury and has not played since, though he maintained the initial problem was with his knee, not his hamstring.

Coach Terry Wallace defended the move to keep Richardson on the field.

He said with North Melbourne one short following a serious arm injury to forward Brent Harvey, having an extra available player on the bench was a massive advantage for the Tigers.

"He had a glute strain. It wasn't a tear, but it was certainly very restrictive," Wallace said of Richardson.

"We took him off and weren't going to bring him back on.

"With the nature of the game, to be one down and we knew Harvey had gone off, we though if Richo could just do a job for us by taking one of their guys to the goalsquare, it would allow us to keep our rotations going.

"It gave us a big advantage. It allowed us to keep our forwards fresher so we could run out the game better."

The Tigers kicked seven goals to two in the second half to post their first victory of the season and ease the pressure on both coach Wallace and the success-starved club.

Wallace said Richardson's injury was not serious, and he was a chance to play for the Tigers in their next match against Sydney on Saturday night.

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