This week will not be the first time Richmond enter a preliminary final against Collingwood with an injury hampering a star number four.
The fitness of Dustin Martin has been the most talked about topic heading into Friday night’s blockbuster.
Martin suffered a “significant” corkie in the Tigers qualifying final win over Hawthorn. The injury resulted in bleeding into the knee, which has prevented Martin from completing full training in the lead up to the preliminary final.
However Martin enters the game in fine company when it comes to a famous number four struggling with a knee injury heading into a preliminary final.
In 1973, Tigers champion Royce Hart entered the preliminary final under a major injury cloud due to a knee problem that hampered him for much of the season.
Hart had played only 10 games for the season and was considered likely to miss the cut-throat encounter.
However Richmond named Hart as their 19th man for the encounter, as insurance in case anything went wrong and he was required to come off the bench. Back in 1973 there was no interchange system and a player could only come on if they were replacing someone who was injured or in poor form.
Before a huge MCG crowd of 98,652, Collingwood jumped Richmond, piling on 6.7 to 2.2 in the first quarter.
The margin grew to 45 points during the second quarter, as it appeared the Magpies were going to storm into the Grand Final.
A late goal to Neil Balme reduced the margin to 36 points at half time, but all hope of a Richmond victory appeared over.
Or so everyone thought…
Club doctor Bill Grainger advised against Hart taking part in the game because it would have jeopardised his prospects of playing in the Grand Final.
In a typical forceful style, Club official Graeme Richmond said that there would be no Grand Final for the Tigers if they didn’t take a punt on Hart.
Coach Tommy Hafey agreed with Richmond and Hart was summoned onto the ground.
Hart’s arrival had an instant impact on the Tigers.
The captain kicked the opening goal of the third term to inspire the Richmond fightback.
The Tigers kicked 6.6 to 2.2 for the term, to trail by only eight points at the final change.
The Tigers had all the momentum and in the 19th minute of the final term, the Tigers hit the front through a Kevin Bartlett goal.
Another Bartlett goal sealed the 15.15 (105) to 14.14 (98) victory.
Tiger fans will hope Martin can have the same impact as Hart on Friday night, even if it is not when the Tigers are down by 45 points.