Ricky Petterd.

Ricky Petterd. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

DETERMINED not to let injuries derail another tilt at a drought-breaking finals campaign, Richmond has loaded up again on recycled players to act as reinforcements should the toll of a long season hit in 2013.

In the biggest surprise of Tuesday's rookie and pre-season drafts, the Tigers chose to add three former AFL players to their list.

Delisted Essendon midfielder Sam Lonergan (25), dumped Melbourne forward Ricky Petterd (24) and rejected Geelong ruckman Orren Stephenson (30) were all thrown lifelines by Richmond, with a view to the rookies playing a legitimate role next season.

Orren Stephenson.

Orren Stephenson. Photo: Paul Rovere

The Tigers also brought in 18-year-old forward Cadeyn Williams, whose TAC Cup season with the Murray Bushrangers was cut down last year by a shoulder injury.

When the arrivals of goal-kicking forward Aaron Edwards from North Melbourne, key defender Troy Chaplin from Port Adelaide and small forward Chris Knights from Adelaide are also factored in, Richmond has now recruited six ready-made players during the off-season.

It is the continuation of a new direction that last season underpinned the recruitment of ruckman Ivan Maric, midfielder Shaun Grigg and defender Bachar Houli.

Sam Lonergan.

Sam Lonergan. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

''The philosophy was that we perhaps needed a bit more depth of players that are ready to play, to actually fulfil a role during the year, and three of those boys have had significant experience in the AFL system,'' Richmond recruiting manager Francis Jackson said after Tuesday's twin drafts.

''We think they can come in and have an impact and play a role for us,'' he said.

''With the length of the season and the increased intensity of each game, fatigue is an issue. So having that added depth on our list enables blokes to come in and play their role.

''We've had 11 new players, six are experienced and five are 18-year-olds so we think we've certainly added to our depth and we've got a really good combination.''

Tigers coach Damien Hardwick had previously flagged the idea of the rookie plan when the club struggled to find suitable replacements for key players out with injury last season.

''It's a brutal game and something we really need to look at, moving forward, is the ability to bring players in and out at stages, so we can actually fix your side,'' the coach said towards the end of 2012.

One of the recruits, former Kangaroos high-flyer Edwards, found himself in hot water on arriving at Punt Road when he was fined for being intoxicated in a public place.

The Tigers handed down a suspended two-game ban to the 28-year-old on Tuesday.

''Aaron was extremely disappointed with his behaviour, but since he has joined the group for pre-season training, his attitude could not be questioned,'' Tigers football manager Craig Cameron said.

Petterd and Lonergan, both childhood Richmond supporters, were unexpected selections. Lonergan had ankle surgery recently and will be nursed through until Christmas. Petterd, a former second-round draft pick, played 54 games in six seasons at Melbourne.

He revealed how an ongoing Achilles injury had stalled his career for the past two years.

''I haven't felt this good in two years, and running-wise I'm pulling up really good,'' he said.

Without a club to train with, Petterd was forced to prepare mostly by himself during the off-season.