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Midfield move makes Nick click

Round 7: Tigers' fast start Nick Vlastuin kicks the opener.
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 6: Nick Vlastuin of the Tigers in action during the 2016 AFL Round 07 match between the Richmond Tigers and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on May 6, 2016. (Photo by Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Nick Vlastuin in action against Hawthorn last Friday night.

Nick Vlastuin made an overall successful transition into the midfield for Richmond in last Friday night’s clash with Hawthorn at the MCG.

Vlastuin was a top midfielder at junior football level, before being taken by the Tigers with their first pick (No. 9 overall) in the 2012 national draft.

He subsequently developed into one of the most consistent, young defenders in the AFL competition.

But after recovering from a minor injury, and reclaiming his place in Richmond’s line-up for the Round 7 match against the Hawks, Vlastuin was handed a midfield assignment.  And, he made a decent fist of the shift, finishing with 16 disposals, including five clearances, five inside-50s, three marks, six tackles and a goal.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was impressed with Vlastuin’s performance on the night.

“We’ve always sort of wanted to give him the opportunity to play (in the midfield).  With Trent (Cotchin) being out, and probably our midfield being a little bit light at the moment, it was an opportunity to see how he went,” Hardwick said.

“He was pretty good early, but it’s one of those experiments that’s going to take a little bit of time to see the long-term benefits of it. 

“It’s a different kettle of fish playing midfield as compared to down back.  But I thought he showed some really good signs. 

“He’s incredibly clean, tough.  I enjoy what he gave us tonight (Friday night). 

“He’ll only get better for the run . . .”