Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has dodged an opportunity to guarantee Jake King's spot for round one, but has made clear the controversial small forward's value to the side.
Hardwick admitted King had been unable to complete the workload the coaching staff wanted for him ahead of Saturday's season-opener against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
Given round one historically offers the fastest-paced games of the regular season, King is in danger of missing the interstate trip alongside reigning best and fairest winner Daniel Jackson, who has been set for round two in his recovery from a groin injury.
Richmond's Jake King receives his jumper for 2014. Photo: Getty Images
The uncertain build-up to round one follows an eventful pre-season for King where his association with bikie figure Toby Mitchell has created headlines.
"He's probably a bit under-done at this stage, we would have liked him to get a bit more game time under his belt," Hardwick said before training on Thursday.
"He knows how important he is to this side, and I know how important he is to this side also. Look, it will be a tough decision at match commitee this afternoon, we've got good players that are going to miss out."
Hardwick said VFL recruit Sam Lloyd was in the frame to take the small forward position should King be left out, revealing Lloyd had worked hard on his defensive game during the pre-season.