Star Richmond forward Tom Lynch was a notable absentee from the Tigers' pre-Christmas training session at Beaconsfield on Tuesday, with the reigning Jack Dyer medallist currently battling a plantar fascia complaint.
Lynch enjoyed a stellar 2022 season, winning his maiden best and fairest, as well as earning the title of Richmond's leading goalkicker after splitting the big sticks on 60 occasions.
While the 30-year-old's efforts within forward 50 saw the Punt Roaders return to September this year, a third flag in yellow and black eluded Lynch following his controversial elimination final miss at the Gabba during week one of the finals.
On a day in which blistering talent Shai Bolton recommitted his future at Tigerland, inking a four million dollar, five-year extension, and boom recruits Tim Taranto and Jacob Hopper lapped up the love from the Tiger Army, Lynch was forced out of action.
As reported by Mitch Cleary of 7News, the All-Australian is facing a shortened pre-season after his foot injury required rest and recuperation.
Before more than 2000 avid onlookers, ex-Cat Quinton Narkle continued his train-on agreement with the club, one that the 25-year-old will be hoping amounts to a contract before the new year.
Dustin Martin was also put through his paces in what looms as a vital pre-season for the decorated champion.
Speaking to RSN listeners on Wednesday, Richmond's senior advisor Neil Balme claimed that after time out across the past pair of seasons, Martin would benefit greatly from a solid foundation over summer.
"The coaches are very pleased with him. He's having a very good pre-season," Balme delineated.
"His attitude's been great. He's had a real crack ... He could have a very exciting year, I would think."
After only managing nine senior appearances in 2022 - the fewest across any of his 13 years as a Tiger - Martin appeared off the pace during Richmond's sole finals appearance.
And with a re-tooled roster desperate to head back to the dais on grand final day, Balme expressed that now was the time for the triple Norm Smith winner to get the ball rolling.
"You've just got to do the work," the seasoned operator admitted.
"It's such a challenging game. When you play, you've got to play for a couple of hours full-boar ... you've got to go again and again and again and again."
With stars on every line, many will be backing Richmond to be among the runners when the whips begin cracking in 2023. Still, for Balme, one particular area of concern requires inspection before meeting Carlton in their season opener.
"I think our best was pretty good last year, but we were a little bit inconsistent. I think that's what we've got to get better at," he said.
"Expectations are very high (and) our blokes will work really well together. We've done a bit to improve the list."
Since returning back to Punt Road in September of 2016, ending a 37-year absence from the club, Balme has played a vital role in steering Richmond's latest golden generation - a group he remains hopeful has a few more dawns in it yet.
"I'm really very positive about what we're doing. The attitude to training has been wonderful," he revealed.
"I'd be surprised if we're not very competitive and much more consistent than we were last year."
Richmond are scheduled to open the 2023 AFL Season when they face Carlton in Round 1 before what promises to be a packed MCG crowd.