Richmond football manager Neil Balme says the Tigers will need to manage Shaun Hampson through a back problem this year.
Hampson is on a modified training program as he manages an injury that restricted him to six VFL games last season and will need attention for the rest of his career.
But the defending premiers feel they will be able to get him through games in what is his fourth season with the club.
Balme said: "We're pleased with where he is; most of what he does is relatively modified, but he's just trying to get himself fit enough so he can play, which he's doing relatively well. He's looking after himself well, but backs are backs, they don't just go away."
The Tigers football boss added: "We've got to be careful with his ground ball stuff, just to make sure we don't put too much stress on him. But he got through last year probably better than we thought, so we're quite positive about it, as is he."
Hampson played 11 games in his first campaign with the Tigers after moving from Carlton at the end of 2013, and made 20 appearances in 2016.
Meanwhile, midfielder Anthony Miles is using pre-season to build his running power and become a regular member of the Tigers' best 22 after missing last year's finals series.
Miles is still on a modified program following post-season shoulder surgery.
The inside midfielder said: "Not being able to be in contested drills has allowed me to work on my running more so than I have been able to in the past."
Richmond are 1212/1 to win the Grand Final, while the Tigers are 19/100 to win their first game of the season against Carlton, who are 4/1.
View all Australian Rules betting