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Aussie Rules

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Tigers skipper Cotchin close to AFL return

Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin is pencilled in to play his first AFL game in two months when the Tigers face North Melbourne next weekend.

The veteran midfielder injured his hamstring in round three and has been managed cautiously after suffering a setback in his recovery last month.

But in a big boost for the injury-depleted Tigers, coach Damien Hardwick says Cotchin is in contention for Friday night's clash with the Kangaroos at Marvel Stadium.

"He's pencilled in to return," Hardwick said after the Tigers' 10.13 (73) to 6.14 (50) victory over Essendon in the Dreamtime at the 'G game.

"He's training well. He's missed a fair amount of footy so we'll work our way through it.

"If he walks into my office and says 'I'm right to go' and the doc gives him the all clear, I know where his magnet will be going."

The Tigers have been hammered by injuries this season with Alex Rance, Jack Riewoldt and Toby Nankervis among their medium to long-term casualties.

But Hardwick's men continue to find a way, with the victory over Essendon at a sodden MCG lifting them to third on the ladder.

Dustin Martin looks to have rediscovered his best form and veteran defender Bachar Houli - who has been fasting for 12 hours a day while observing Ramadan - starred on Saturday night to win the Yiooken Award as best-afield.

"I think I even underrate him at stages, the way he runs and the way he uses the ball," Hardwick said.

"It's amazing, it's Ramadan at the moment and he just seems to play better and better every year. I'm going to put in an (application) if I can to get it extended for him.

"He's been a wonderful player for a long period of time and he's probably starting to get the plaudits he really deserves."

Hardwick said forward Tom Lynch should also be available to face the Kangaroos after sitting out the last quarter of the Dreamtime game with a corked calf.

--End of article--

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