Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has labelled Thursday night’s AFL blockbuster against Carlton a must-win clash that can kick start their season.
The Tigers and Blues are coming off round-one losses and Hardwick said it is vital that his team square the ledger now.
The MCG match will attract a crowd upwards of 70,000.
“We have to make sure we start nailing these games and that way gain the momentum that takes us into the season,” Hardwick said.
“We don’t want to go back 0-2 – we want to make sure 1-1 and attack the season from head-on.
“It’s obviously one we’ve been looking forward to – they’re a formidable foe and we’ve had some really close games over the last 12-24 months.”
Carlton are also a bogey team for Richmond, with the Blues having won 11 of their last 12 games.
Most recently, Carlton roared back from a poor first half to upset the Tigers in last year’s elimination final.
Hardwick pointed out that, in that game and the round-21 loss, the two teams had the same number of scoring shots.
“There have been various stages where things have let us down that haven’t normally let us down,” he said.
“Do you look at it from an overall perspective and work on those things? Of course you do.
“But we’re not really worried about the things we can’t control – we just have to keep playing well.”
Midfielder Daniel Jackson, small forward Jake King and forward Aaron Edwards are all in the selection mix.
Jackson, last season’s club best and fairest winner, has not played at all so far this year as he recovered from injury.
“We have a training session to go through and then match committee to make that decision, to see whether he’s fit enough and ready to go,” Hardwick said.