RICHMOND defender Alex Rance admits the stakes will be even higher than normal in next week’s annual MCG-opening blockbuster against Carlton.
But he said the Tigers had no interest in getting sucked into the hype that will surround the clash.
The blowtorch is already on the Tigers and Blues after both suffered shock first round losses to Gold Coast and Port Adelaide last weekend.
Richmond was stunned by a much-improved Suns’ outfit in Queensland on Saturday night, while the Power ran over Carlton by 33 points at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
After those results, Rance couldn’t help but concede next Thursday’s clash was bigger than usual for both teams.
The Tigers and Blues have kicked off the AFL season for the past eight years but had their clash pushed back this year.
“I guess for the fans it might be (bigger), with both clubs searching for their first win,” Rance said in Wodonga yesterday.
“But for us, if we can take as much emotion out of it as possible, that’s the way we want to play.
“The split round is a bit weird to deal with — it’s nice for us to be able to freshen up but we’ll be tackling it just like any other game.
“You always want to win and this is definitely a game we want to win.”
Rance said the Tigers had already put Saturday night’s disappointing performance against the Suns behind them.
“We had our review on Monday and learned what we could out of that game,” he said.
“It was disappointing to lose round 1 but there’s plenty more games left.
“We didn’t play as we wanted to play and they played really well.
“It was a combination of both.
“I think we knew they were always going to be a good side.
“They’ve got some young fellas coming through and, of course, Gary Ablett.
“We knew they’d be a lot more competitive and definitely didn’t underestimate them.
“We just played poorly.”
Rance was joined by teammate Brad Helbig on the Border yesterday as part of a community visit.
“It’s always good to get away to the country and get away from the usual gym and work on the track we usually do,” Rance said.