Castagna Upgraded To Tigers' Senior List

Rookie gets his chance

Castagna Upgraded To Tigers' Senior List

(Image: Getty)

Richmond will take a new-look line-up into Thursday night's AFL season-opener against Carlton in what shapes as a make-or-break year for coach Damien Hardwick.

Highly-rated recruits Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy and Toby Nankervis are all certainties to play against the Blues, while livewire forward Dan Butler has been locked in to make his AFL debut.

Another speedy attacker, Jason Castagna, was upgraded from the rookie list on Wednesday and is also likely to play at the MCG, having shown encouraging signs in a five-game cameo last year.

The inclusion of Butler and Castagna, alongside second-year excitement machine Daniel Rioli, shows the Tigers are placing a premium on speed in their forward half.

"Dan has got a wonderful turn of speed, he wins the ball and he's a goalkicker as well," Hardwick said on Wednesday.

"His ability to cover ground from an offensive and defensive perspective is a real highlight of his and certainly adds to our team dynamic."

Ex-Sydney ruckman Nankervis has been on the Tigers' radar since his junior days and is another new face who fills a specific need, especially with Shaun Hampson on the injured list and Ivan Maric in the twilight of his career.

"We probably identified Toby halfway through last year, what a talent he was," said Hardwick.

"He was in a very good (Sydney) side and was just squeezed out through a matter of circumstances.

"Toby's ability to hunt the ball in and around contests and his pressure around the ball has been very good."

After bowing out in the first week of the finals in three successive seasons from 2013-15, the Tigers took a big step backwards last year, slipping to 13th with just eight wins which has heaped pressure on Hardwick this season.

AAP

;