RICHMOND superstars Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio have both pulled out of tomorrow night’s NAB Cup blockbuster at Wangaratta.
In a disappointing blow, the Tigers’ captain and vice-captain have both been rested after strong first-up performances last Friday night.
In further bad news, fan-favourite Ivan Maric has also withdrawn from the clash under lights with Essendon.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for Border-based Tiger fans, with feisty forward Jake King and mature-age ruck recruit Orren Stephenson coming into Richmond’s 27-man squad.
Dustin Martin, Chris Newman and Coleman medallist Jack Riewoldt have also been selected.
King recovered quicker than expected from a bout of post-season surgeries, while Stephenson, who played eight senior games for Geelong in his debut season last year, should get plenty of game time in Maric’s absence.
The Bombers, meanwhile, have pulled out their big guns as they look to restore their image in the North East.
Skipper Jobe Watson will play his first game for the year.
Jake Melksham has also returned, with Michael Hurley, Dyson Heppell and Brent Stanton also poised to take part in the clash at Norm Minns Oval.
Former St Kilda star Brendon Goddard will ramp up his season preparations at his new club with another appearance for the Bombers after impressing on debut against Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs a fortnight ago.
Goddard’s former club, though, has taken the opposite approach with its key players.
St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt and lion-hearted midfielder Lenny Hayes will again sit out in their preseason clash against Sydney on Sunday.
The pair also skipped the Saints’ first round of NAB Cup fixtures, meaning it’s likely they will start the season proper with just two matches under their belt.
Border star Justin Koschitzke has also been rested for Sunday’s clash against the Swans.
Koschitzke, in the final year of his contract, said it was no cause for concern.
“I’m feeling really good,” the Brocklesby product said.
“I had a run around in the heat over in Adelaide the other week and should get a couple more games in before the season starts.”
Tomorrow night’s Foxtel-televised match at Wangaratta starts at 5.10pm.