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In-form Tigers turning the corner in AFL

By Anna Harrington
Things are looking up for Richmond coach Damien Hardwick with several of his stars returning. (AAP)

Richmond are finding their groove again as key personnel return and coach Damien Hardwick believes the Tigers are starting to turn the corner.

The Tigers began the season 2-4 but are now back on level pegging at 4-4, and have welcomed back Dustin Martin and Kane Lambert in recent weeks

Nick Vlastuin and Dion Prestia will return from the flu against Hawthorn on Saturday.

"We've had an indifferent run I think to start the year," Hardwick said.

"We've played some reasonably good footy for the vast majority of time but been blown out in a couple of quarters and our injury rate has been a little bit inconsistent also.

"We haven't had all our very best team playing together for a period of time. So we're starting to get that now but it does turn pretty quickly at different stages

"(Some) sides have had a good run with injury and some not so good. We're just starting to turn that corner at this stage."

Talented youngster Josh Gibcus is sidelined through COVID-19 protocols but Robbie Tarrant is no guarantee to return, with Hardwick saying Bigoa Nyuon was also in the mix.

Hugo Ralphsmith will return from broken ribs via the VFL.

"We've lost young Josh Gibcus to COVID protocols so that's a little bit disappointing and we've got a couple more to go," he said.

"But other than that we're all in reasonable shape at this stage which is good, first time for a long time.

"(Tarrant will) certainly put his hand up, we're also reasonably pleased with how Biggie Nyuon's going as well. We'll look at both of those boys today.

"Robbie has had a bit of a hip complaint that he's been nursing but obviously he's an experienced campaigner, knows how to play the game and very important to what we're doing now."

Lambert is managing an ongoing hip issue, with Hardwick admitting the midfielder was a week-to-week proposition.

"He's week-to-week. He'll give me an understanding of how he feels today and whether he's right to go," he said.

"Kane, he's always in my side. But it's basically up to Kane whether he plays or not ... hopefully he gets up to play this week."

Hardwick said Lambert carefully managed his preparation to give himself the best chance to play.

"Any other player wouldn't be playing, guaranteed," he said.

"He's just hard, tough and he'll do anything to get his body right to give his all for the Richmond footy club. Incredible warrior."

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