MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Jacob Townsend of the Tigers is carried off in a neckbrace during the 2016 AFL NAB Challenge match between the Richmond Tigers and the Port Adelaide Power at Etihad Stadium on March 10, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The Tigers are counting the cost of a horror night on the injury front on the eve of round one.

Richmond went down to Port Adelaide 0.13.15 (93) to 1.4.2 (45) at Etihad Stadium last night, with key players Shane Edwards, Shaun Grigg, Reece Conca and Jacob Townsend all suffering injuries.

As injuries mounted, coach Damien Hardwick took the extraordinary step of fielding just 15 players for periods of the final quarter as he attempted to ensure more players did not suffer injuries before round one.

Hardwick also revealed after the match that he even asked for the game to be stopped with around 10 minutes to go, but his request was denied by the AFL.

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“It was a perfect storm … we had injuries early and they just seemed to continue through the night,” Hardwick said.

“Every time we looked up another player was half limping or coming off. It was a tough day for us.

“From my point of view I am here to put our best side forward for round one. I am not here to win NAB three.

“It was making sure our players hasn’t had a rotation for a quarter, so we said let’s get them off. We did (try to call off the game). My main priority is to get a fit and fired-up Richmond side for Round 1, not to win a practice match.”

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Shane Edwards appears to have a broken collarbone and left the ground at the end of the first quarter to have scans.

Shaun Grigg injured his hand, Reece Conca suffered a hamstring injury, his fourth in 12 months, and Jacob Townsend left the ground on a stretcher after being knocked out attempting to tackle Hamish Hartlett.

Richmond finished the match two players down on the field, as Hardwick opted to rest key players on the bench for round one.

The Tigers face Carlton on Thursday March 24 in the season opener, while the Power face St Kilda at Adelaide Oval on Sunday March 27 in round one.

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