MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 03: Tom Hawkins of the Cats and Alex Rance of the Tigers compete for the ball during the round 20 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats at Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 3, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Speaking On their SEN Breakfast show, former AFL greats Garry Lyon and Tim Watson discussed the returns of Tom Mitchell, Alex Rance and Sam Docherty after all three missed the 2019 season.

All three players are supremely talented and are integral parts of their club’s scheme when fit, but who will have the biggest impact upon their return?

Despite Richmond’s premiership success last season, Lyon believes Rance, the five-time All-Australian defender, will be a crucial addition to his side in 2020.

“Of course you can make Richmond better,” Lyon said.

“I’m going with Rance.

“I’m not as confident with Docherty coming back and having the same influence as Rance will have.

“I just haven’t seen Docherty play in two years, so front of mind for me is Rance.”

Lyon also acknowledged 2018 Brownlow Medallist Tom Mitchell, whose ability to accumulate possessions will be invaluable to Hawthorn.

“Tom Mitchell will come back and start getting 35 disposals from the word go.”

Despite sitting out the past two seasons due to a recurring ACL injury, Watson believes Carlton co-captain Sam Docherty will have the strongest return.

“They are desperately missing Docherty. He is an outstanding player. I’m going with him,” Watson said.

Rance also missed 2019 due to a torn ACL, while Tom Mitchell will be returning from a broken leg suffered in pre-season last year.