After a scintillating 2017 playing a fresh brand of footy appealing to everyone's eyes, the Tigers will be looking for more tricks up their sleeve as they return to now being the 'hunted' in the competition.

Adapting to a fresh look in their 22, the Tigers were able to exploit every team's weaknesses, with their running power, speed and their 'togetherness' of 22 players playing one brand of football.

Leading the league for tackles inside 50 (14.3 per game), the small forwards were able to apply pressure to the opposition's defence, as well as leading the league in total intercepts for 2017.

If you go down the list of key statistical areas, Richmond are either on average, or below, in majority of the categories. They ranked last for disposal efficiency (70 per game), 8th in goals scored, 10th in clearances and 15th in disposals.

They showed in 2017, that while not performing well in major stats, that pressure is the key, and being able to maintain that pressure will go along way come to September.

However, injuries played a part in the line-up each week, especially the forward line.

It was a new look forward line, that we rarely see in the modern football, with one lone key forward, and quick, agile and midfield-type players on the ground, and dangerous ones at that.

Shaun Hampson was one of those who were missed throughout 2017, with constant back problems plaguing the ruckman, limiting him to just six VFL games for the year.

Neil Balme, Richmond's Football Manager, explained the complexity of the issue to

"We're pleased with where he is. Most of what he does is relatively modified, but he's just trying to get himself fit enough so he can play, which he's doing relatively well," Balme said.

"He's looking after himself well, but backs are backs, they don't just go away. We've got to be careful with his ground ball work stuff, just to make sure we don't put too much stress on him.

"But he got through last year probably better than we thought, so we're quite positive about it, as is he."

It's a problem not only for Hampson, but also for forward line coach Justin Leppitsch, with the possibility of having to revamp his successful forward line in 2017 to accommodate for another key forward in 2018, with Toby Nankervis likely to be rotated regularly throughout the game.

The midfield stocks are stacked for Richmond however, with Anthony Miles returning from successful shoulder surgery, to stake his claim in the star-studded midfield group.

The inside midfielder who in September was seeking a trade for greater opportunity, is relishing the opportunity to force his way into his side.

"Not being able to be in contested drills has allowed me to work on my running more so than I have been able to in the past," Miles told

"The fitness staff and the conditioning staff have been great in allowing me to do that."

Richmond will travel to Sydney for AFLX, facing GWS and Brisbane, before they face Essendon in Wangarrata on February 24 and North Melbourne at Ikon Park, March 7.

Richmond will face Carlton in the annual season opener at the MCG on March 22.