Richmond ruckman Graham facing test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Richmond ruckman Graham facing test

By Sam Lienert 17/07/2010 11:59:19 AM Comments (0)

Improved Richmond ruckman Angus Graham can expect another physical test against North Melbourne on Sunday after copping a battering in last weekend's AFL win over Fremantle.

Graham's emergence as the Tigers' No.1 ruckman over the past two months has been a key factor in Richmond's form surge, after he failed to break into the side for the first seven rounds.

He performed valiantly against Dockers giant Aaron Sandilands last round, despite copping two huge bumps, both of which left him doubled over in pain.

Kangaroos ruckman Hamish McIntosh said himself and ruck partner Todd Goldstein would be out to test Graham's recovery at the MCG on Sunday.

"I saw he got a few heavy knocks, so I guess you've just got to go in there and compete pretty hard and see how he's feeling," McIntosh said.

"It looks like he's trained pretty fully this week, so he's not too sore.

"But I'm sure Goldy and I will try to compete pretty hard and jump pretty hard."

With McIntosh and Goldstein both in good form, the Kangaroos' ruck strength will be important if they are to break Richmond's four-match winning streak and keep their own finals bid on track.

North's hopes of snatching a spot in the eight received a double blow last round, when they lost to finals rivals Sydney and lost key forward Drew Petrie for the rest of the season.

That means McIntosh and Goldstein will need to again double as forward targets, something they are becoming accustomed to, given Petrie's season-long injury woes.

"It's given myself and Todd more time to go forward and over the last few weeks we've managed to get a few scoring shots and have a bit of an impact," McIntosh said.

The 'Roos have also lost dangerous small forward Lindsay Thomas (knee) and Cruize Garlett (calf), replaced by Aaron Edwards, Gavin Urquhart and Nathan Grima.

Richmond lost Daniel Jackson to suspension and Ben Griffiths and Ben Nason to injury, but regained Ben Cousins and Richard Tambling and included defender Luke McGuane.

McIntosh acknowledged the Richmond clash had become huge, after losses to Geelong and Sydney in the past two rounds.

"It's going to be a massive task and if you go on the form ladder for the last five or six weeks, Richmond are in the top four pretty much," he said.

"It's a big challenge for the group to bounce back."

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