Bucks says Swan battling

Richmond will be without Brett Deledio for Friday night’s crunch clash against Collingwood, with the running defender to again miss with an Achilles problem.

Coach Damien Hardwick confirmed on Wednesday that Deledio would miss his second straight match. He sat out last weekend’s loss to the Wester Bulldogs – the first game he had missed in seven years.

‘‘Deledio’s got an Achilles problem at the moment, he’s had it for a number of years,’’ Hardwick said on 3AW.

‘‘It grumbles at various stages and it normally grumbles during the pre-season, so we can manage it a little bit.

Unfortunately, it’s happened during the season this year, so he won’t be able to available to play this week which is disappointing for us. We hope he can get back for the Brisbane game (the following week).’’

Hardwick also defended his decision to force Jack Riewoldt to play further up the ground in a bid to ensure the Tigers’ forward line had greater options.

The move has been controversial, with AFL legend Wayne Carey even calling for the Tigers to trade Riewoldt should he not be played in his natural position as a leading full-forward.

‘‘It’s the modern game, we don’t have full-forwards any more,’’ he said.

Hardwick also said key defender Alex Rance could return against Hawthorn in round six.

Meanwhile, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has admitted that veteran midfielder Dane Swan is out of form.

Swan has averaged 22 disposals a game in the first three rounds, and is on track for his lowest average in a decade.

Buckley said the Magpies needed a greater output from the 2011 Brownlow medallist.

‘‘When you’ve had a bloke who’s been so consistent over such a long period of time, it stands out, but Swanny’s working hard, his intent is right, we’d clearly like more from him because he’s a star of the game,’’ Buckley said on Wednesday.

‘‘He’s been out of form and he’s going to have to work harder to get back into form, but I’ve got great faith in him.’’

Key forward Travis Cloke is another whose performance has been subdued, having kicked just two goals in 2014.

Ahead of his 200th game on Friday night, Cloke said: ‘‘My game last week [against Geelong] was pretty poor; [my] game against Sydney was actually quite good, so it’s the outside opinion – that’s great they can have their opinion – but within the footy club we’re pretty happy with the way things are going.’’

Buckley is urging his star forward to move further up the field than he did against Geelong. ‘‘I thought Trav got a bit stationary last week, and made it easier for Tom Lonergan to defend him.’’

Cloke, 27, has reached his milestone swiftly – less than nine years after his AFL debut on Anzac Day, 2005. Buckley said Cloke’s durability was testament to his work ethic and ability to endure pain.

The story Bucks says Swan battling first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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