Interim Richmond coach Andrew McQualter has spoken on the difficult task that faces Richmond as they prepare to make the trip to Perth to take on an in-form Fremantle outfit, with the Tigers still holding the hopes of playing finals football in 2023.
McQualter said it's a "tough challenge to play in Perth", but the team was excited to get over to Western Australia for a strong contest to follow up their thrilling win over GWS.
"Fremantle are obviously in pretty good form. I think we've shown over the last couple of years we love travelling together. We've got a reasonable record on the road so looking forward to it," McQualter told reporters at Punt Road.
Even though Richmond sit in 13th position on the ladder, they're only six points out of the eight and are mathematically still in contention.
When asked if he was still selling the dream of finals to players and fans, McQualter responded said the Tigers "absolutely" remain a chance to play in September.
"We live in a space where we want to win every game of football we compete in. We understand we can be really competitive when we're playing our best footy," McQualter said.
"I'm really enjoying it, it's great."
Key defender Nick Vlastuin has missed Richmond's last two games after he suffered a corked leg during the Dreamtime game.
McQualter said Vlastuin was a test to make the trip to Perth, with the premiership backman still needing to prove his fitness.
"If he gets through full training, he'll be available and we'll pick him for sure," McQualter said.
However, key forward Tom Lynch is still a way off from returning.
"It's a pretty long-term injury, so it's a little bit hard to judge when exactly. He's attacking his rehab really hard," McQualter said.
Liam Baker will notch up the 100-game milestone this weekend and has been in strong form this season, playing a crucial role in Richmond's backline, particularly whilst Vlastuin and Robbie Tarrant have been out with injuries.
"We love him at our footy club and he's a great player for us. Everybody loves the way he plays his footy," said McQualter.
Richmond will play Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Saturday at 7:25pm (AEST).