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Matthew Richardson’s ‘question marks’ on Essendon top-up recruits

Richmond great Matthew Richardson admits he’s surprised by Nathan Grima’s decision to join Essendon.

The former North Melbourne defender, who retired at the end of last season largely due to injury, has joined the Bombers as their ninth top-up player for season 2016.

Richardson told 3AW Football it caught him off-guard.

‘A little bit, because the last time I saw Nathan was towards the end of last season and he was still really struggling after that back injury,’ Richardson explained.

‘Talking to him then, he was looking forward to retirement and getting his body right.

‘He’s obviously been able to do that and Essendon have come to him.’

Richardson said Grima would prove a valuable asset to the Bombers, if fit, but that was the big if.

‘Can he get enough work in to stay fit and get out there and play enough games for them?’ he said.

‘I think that’s the question mark with a few of these guys, having had three or four months off.

‘It’s really hard to catch up to the elite conditioning needed to play elite AFL footy.

‘That’s the area I’d be worried about, definitely with Grima and (Mathew) Stokes.’

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