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Lambert a last-quarter specialist

Round 1: Lambert man of the match Kane Lambert receives the Tissot man of the match in the Round 1 match against Carlton.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 24: Kane Lambert of the Tigers in action during the 2016 AFL Round 01 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on March 24, 2016. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Richmond's Kane Lambert notched up 28 disposals on Thursday night.

Kane Lambert is no stranger to delivering inspirational last-quarter performances on football’s big stage.

Back in 2014, Lambert almost single-handedly lifted VFL team Williamstown over the line in a semi-final against Werribee.

Williamstown trailed by 32 points at three-quarter time, but a brilliant final-term display from Lambert ignited a mighty comeback by the Seagulls, culminating in a 26-point win.

Lambert kicked three of Williamstown’s nine last-quarter goals that day, to finish with four for the match, among his 32 disposals all-up (including 17 clearances and 15 inside-50s).

Just over 18 months later, Lambert has produced another outstanding last quarter of football to provide the spark for his team’s come-from-behind victory.

This time it was at Richmond, before a huge crowd of 75,706, in the 2016 season-opener against Carlton at the MCG.

In just his 14th game of AFL football, the tough, determined, hard-running midfielder was superb throughout the final term, racking up 12 disposals, and providing the spark for a Tigers’ fightback, which saw them turn a nine-point deficit at the last change into a nine-point win.

Lambert finished with an AFL career-high 28 disposals (the most by a Richmond player in the match). He had a team-high 436 metres gained, an equal game-high seven tackles, and kicked the first goal of season 2016.

It was a breakout performance by Lambert at the game’s highest level, and further highlighted the resilience that has been the cornerstone of his football career.

He has overcome a series of obstacles along the way, including being overlooked in several AFL drafts, and then sustaining a severe shoulder injury in his Round 2 debut appearance with Richmond last year.

Now, however, he is super-fit and well prepared to establish himself as an important member of the Tigers’ midfield.

“I worked on my fitness over the pre-season.  I thought last season I was a little bit light as well, with the shoulder injury, so I put on a little bit of size,” Lambert told Channel Seven in a post-game interview.

“But also, with the rotations being capped, I knew I had to take my running to another level . . .

“Fortunately enough, late in the game, I was able to use that to my advantage.”

In typical style, Lambert is keeping everything in perspective . . .

“It’s an absolute privilege to put on a Richmond jumper every week, and every chance I get I try and make the most of it,” Lambert said.

“I’m really enjoying my footy and looking forward to what’s ahead.”