In just one season with Richmond, Ivan Maric has blossomed into one of the premier ruckmen of the competition.
He thrived on the opportunity presented to him by the Tigers, after being traded by the Adelaide Crows in October 2011, following only 77 games in six seasons with them.
It was a match made in football heaven...the strongly-built, aggressive big man, with a real appetite for the contest, sporting that now famous, flowing mullet, teams up with the passionate, proud, loud Tiger Army, who have long had a penchant for cult figures.
With all his football attributes, and physical characteristics, Maric quickly became a fan favourite among the Yellow and Black faithful.
And, not surprisingly, given Maric’s impact in the ruck, his teammates, particularly those around the midfield, grew mighty fond of him as well.
A number of times, midfield stars Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio, made public reference to the “silver service” they received from big ‘Ivvy’, as they affectionately call him.
Clearly, his rucking influence had a profound, positive, flow-on effect for Cotchin and Deledio, who both had their best seasons of league football. The classy pair was rewarded with first and second placing in the Jack Dyer Medal, plus selection in the All-Australian team for the first time.
Maric finished third in the Club’s Best and Fairest, and also was right in All-Australian contention, being named in the initial squad, further underlining his status as one of the competition’s most improved players.
The 200cm, 102kg, 26-year-old averaged nearly 16 disposals per game during the season, was ranked No. 3 in the entire competition for total hit-outs, No. 2 at the Club for total contested marks, No. 5 for tackles and No. 6 for centre clearances.
In his acceptance speech, after receiving the Maurie Fleming Medal, for third placing in the 2012 Jack Dyer Medal, Maric was typically humble, and spoke passionately about life at Tigerland.
“It’s not even 12 months since I’ve come to the Tigers, and I’ve got to thank Damien (Hardwick) and Blair (Hartley) for seeing something in me that they wanted at this football club. I appreciate that so much,” he said.
“To the playing group, the way you’ve welcomed me into this football club, has made me feel like I belong, and I was always meant to come and play and wear this guernsey. It means a lot to me.
“It’s not just the playing group, it’s the whole football club, it’s been sensational.”
Maric’s exemplary attitude was on display from the moment he walked into Punt Road.
“I just want to come in and have an impact straight away and be pretty vocal, which I’m quite comfortable at doing,” he said after his trade to the Tigers had gone through.