Relief at last for depleted Tigers, Cats star ready to turn his back on Tassie homecoming



Injury-hit Richmond are starting to feel some relief with three players, including senior player Jack Graham, set to return against Geelong.

Graham, along with Rhyan Mansell and Jacob Bauer, are expected to be available for the Tigers’ Saturday night trip to GMHBA Stadium, their first game in Geelong since 2017.

Striker Mansell missed Richmond’s Dreamtime defeat to Essendon on Saturday night due to concussion.

Graham has missed the last two games after injuring his hamstring in the loss against the Western Bulldogs three weeks ago.

But Graham’s return will be offset by the absence of the dangerous Shai Bolton, who suffered a concussion in the final quarter against the Bombers.

Unlucky midfielder Jacob Hopper’s hamstring injury is taking longer to heal than expected and he could be sidelined for another four weeks.

Hopper’s former GWS teammate Tim Taranto is listed as two weeks away after the Tigers’ best and fairest winner broke his wrist in training in April.

Star forward Tom Lynch has been sidelined since seriously injuring his hamstring in the round three upset against Sydney, but is expected to be available in two to three weeks.

Jake will turn his back on Tassie’s return home

Out-of-contract Geelong defender Jake Kolodjashnij is struggling to see himself anywhere else as he prepares to sign a new deal to keep him with the Cats.

Kolodjashnij will become a free agent at the end of the season if he does not sign a new contract before then.

But the premiership player is more than happy where he is, even as his home state of Tasmania prepares to become the AFL’s 19th club in 2028.

“I am Geelong through and through; “I have been here since I was a child, I matured slowly and started a family, so it would be difficult to uproot stumps and send them to Tassie,” Kolodjashnij said.

“It’s also a long time away (until Tasmania joins the AFL), I don’t know what the body will be like (in 2028). “But I’m enjoying my time in Geelong and I don’t really see myself anywhere else.”

Despite pledging allegiance to Geelong, Kolodjashnij admitted it was difficult not to get caught up in the hype surrounding the Devils preparing to be part of the AFL.

“I haven’t looked too far into the future, other than criticizing what they’re doing,” he said of the Tasmanian club.

“The memberships they are doing are quite viral (the club surpassed 150,000 memberships sold in March), people are joining, so it’s very exciting.”

Geelong is trying to bounce back from losing four straight games, its worst winless streak in 14 seasons under coach Chris Scott.

The Cats host struggling Richmond on Saturday night, when they also hope to end a two-game losing streak at GMHBA Stadium.

“We’re going to really focus on the next two weeks and put some effort into training and improve those areas that we’ve been lacking,” Kolodjashnij said.

“It’s probably little pieces all over the floor (cats need to groom themselves).”

© AAP

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