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Astbury takes on famous jumper

David Astbury (r) will wear the Richmond No.12 this season
RICHMOND utility David Astbury says he will wear his new No.12 with pride as he runs out onto Etihad Stadium in round one of the NAB Cup on Saturday night.

Astbury was presented with the famous No.12 in November 2010 but has yet to don the jumper after match against the Indigenous All-Stars in Alice Springs was called off due to bad weather.

The famous Richmond No.12 jumper was most recently worn by Tigers champion Matthew Richardson.

Richardson handpicked the 19-year-old as his successor and while it's an honour for Astbury, the jumper does come with a responsibility. 

"Richo himself having a say in who gets to wear the number [makes it] a real honour," Astbury said on Tuesday.
 
"I have a real obligation to represent it the best I can."

Richmond's goals record holder, Jack Titus (970), along with Richardson (800), also wore No.12, but Astbury found himself playing in defence at the back half of last season despite making his debut in the forward line and kicking three goals.

Astbury said he was yet to gain any pearls of wisdom from Richardson but will draw on his new mentor in the future.

"He gave me his phone number and that was about it," Astbury said.

"We've had a couple of chats and I caught up with him a fortnight ago at the golf day.

"He's going to be someone I'll turn to as a mentor, so he'll be very helpful."

Astbury is part of an inexperienced and young Tigers' list that has an average age of 22 and while they are on the up, the success of their season won't be based upon a win-loss ratio.

Instead, coach Damien Hardwick is after gradual improvement.

"We're not going to limit the number of wins and losses and have that as a yardstick," Astbury said.

"I think it's all going to be how we progress and we can see who can step up to the tee and perform in the big games. I don't think wins and losses is going to be a real focus point for us."

After an intense pre-season, the developing side will be put to the test when it comes up again two 2010 finalists, Carlton and Collingwood, in round one of the NAB Cup on Saturday night.

"We've got a young list at the minute and I suppose Saturday night is going to be a real opportunity to showcase the improvement we've made over the pre-season," the 19-year-old said.

"Building into the NAB Cup we're going to showcase a lot of young talent and hopefully we can show our gradual improvement, which has been a real focus for us over the pre-season."