Andrew McQualter looks on during Richmond's clash against Melbourne in round 20, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

THE CLICHE "one thing at a time" has a whole new level of meaning in the fraught world of free diving.

It's a lesson that Richmond interim coach Andrew McQualter has reinforced to his players ahead of Friday night's match against the Western Bulldogs.

The Tigers' loss to Melbourne last Sunday left them 11th, half a game outside the top eight with four matches left.

After the Bulldogs, they face St Kilda, North Melbourne and Port Adelaide.

A friend of McQualter's put him onto the documentary The Deepest Breath and the Richmond coach watched it with his players this week.

"It's about free divers ­– if you look at the finish line, you're screwed," McQualter said on Thursday when asked about the importance of Friday's game.


"We're just in a space where we're treating each game – we're just trying to get better at footy.

"A really simple, boring answer to your question, I know, but you just can't afford to look too far ahead. It's too tight.

"The opening scene (of the documentary) is pretty full on. We've made a plan to beat the Bulldogs and that's all we've focused on this week."

This will be Richmond's first game at Marvel Stadium since round seven, when they suffered an upset loss to Gold Coast.

Richmond players look dejected after a loss to Gold Coast in round seven, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

Their last six games at the venue are a draw and five losses. To McQualter, the reason is obvious.

"Yeah, 'Dimma'," he joked about his predecessor, Damien Hardwick.

"I love playing footy at Marvel ... a long time ago.

"It's a great stadium, guaranteed conditions, what you're going to get. We're really excited about the opportunity tomorrow night."

Trent Cotchin will not play because of soreness and the short break, while Toby Nankervis and Jayden Short will return.

Trent Cotchin in action during Richmond's clash against St Kilda in round 14, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Nankervis will be important as they try to counter Tim English.

"We're aware that Tim English is a bloody good player. He's having a terrific season and we think we have some plans in place that can look after him," McQualter said.

"You can imagine, Toby, he's frothing to get back out there and we can't wait to have him back in our team."

Another big task will be Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli, with the Tigers taking careful note of the excellent job that Greater Western Sydney veteran Callan Ward did on him last week.

"He's very hard to stop, Bontempelli ... Ward did a very special job," McQualter said.

"I'm sure 'Bont' will be looking to bounce back."