New Tigers fuel finals hopes

RICHMOND has opened its doors to its future, but it will be the disappointment of the past two seasons that drives coach Damien Hardwick as he and his players fly to Cairns on Monday.

As the Tigers head north to what will be a humid pre-season camp, they are unsure of the extent of the latest hamstring concern hovering over key defender Dylan Grimes, who left training on Friday with soreness in his left leg.

Soreness would not normally faze teams in November, but the 21-year-old has had his past two seasons ended by hamstring injuries.

Richmond said on Sunday that Grimes would remain in Melbourne and was likely to have scans on Monday.

Grimes has suffered severe hamstring injuries in the past two Dreamtime matches against Essendon; the 2011 setback ended his season, while this year he missed the next five games.

A recurrence against Adelaide in round 14 prompted Richmond to send the 17-game player to Germany to see soft-tissue specialist Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, who injected actovegin - an extract of calf's blood - into the muscles. Grimes did not play again in 2012 but had shown encouraging signs of recovery this pre-season.

Richmond will spend 10 days in Cairns, giving its players a strong fitness base before Christmas and allowing its four draftees to get to know their new teammates.

Midfielders Nick Vlastuin and Kamdyn McIntosh, ruckman Liam McBean and forward Matthew McDonough were welcomed to Tigerland at a function on Sunday, and the club's first pick, Vlastuin, said the camp was ideally timed.

''It's worth a month if you stay with them for 10 days straight, so I'm looking forward to it,'' he said.

Vlastuin, the No. 9 pick overall, is from Eltham, in Collingwood's heartland - his family lives a few doors up from the Shaws - but he was rapt to be drafted by a Melbourne club, especially one seemingly on the rise.

His task over the next year will be to challenge for a berth in the centre square alongside Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio and Dustin Martin. Richmond's recruiters and coach like the approach the 18-year-old brings to his game.

''They said they just went after competitive players,'' Vlastuin said.

''Damien Hardwick, the player he used to be, just competitive and hard-edged … I think that would have stood out.

''I've been pretty competitive since I was young; I just hate losing. So I think they would have liked that about me.''

Melbourne, meanwhile, expects recruit Chris Dawes to resume training this week after suffering a calf strain at training last week.

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