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Tiger draftees’ dissection

Clarke describes draftees National Recruiting Manager, Matthew Clarke discusses Richmond's 2017 draftees.

Richmond’s Recruiting Manager Matthew Clarke provides a summary of the five players the Tigers picked up in the 2017 AFL National Draft . . . 

Jack Higgins, small forward/midfielder (Oakleigh Chargers)

“Jack’s got a good personality . . . he’ll fit in really well with our group. Every level he goes and plays, whether it’s been under-16s, under-18s, different teams, he always performs. So we’re pretty confident he’s going to step up. Maybe he plays a bit of VFL footy, maybe he goes straight in. There won’t be any restrictions on these boys . . . he’s a very talented boy. It’s a really strong footy IQ that he’s got. Jack really knows where the ball’s going. He knows when to get forward, he knows when to get out the back, and to be lateral as well. He’s a very smart player. He also puts on really good defensive pressure and he has the unique ability to read the drop of the ball.”

Callum Coleman-Jones, ruckman/key forward (Sturt, SANFL)

“Callum’s very versatile. Although he didn’t finish off the season because he had a slight niggle with his knee, his form was pretty good up to that point . . . He’s got a strong leadership profile . . . was captain of SA (in the 2017 under-18 national championships). He’s not just a big ruckman that taps it down – he gets after the footy. He had 28 touches in a national (under-18) carnival game, which is pretty unusual for a ruckman. Callum can definitely play deep forward and mark it and kick some goals, but also relieve in the ruck. He might take a little bit of time to develop, as the big boys do, but once again, we won’t be putting any restrictions on him.”

Noah Balta, tall utility (Calder Cannons)

“Noah is a big, athletic boy. He can play forward, and he played a lot in the ruck for Calder (Cannons) as a mobile ruckman, so he might be able to do that as a second ruckman for us. Noah also played down back for Vic Metro (in the under-18 national championships) and showed some really good qualities there. What stands out about him is his athleticism, as well as his competitiveness. He’s big, he’s strong, he hunts after the ball, and he puts a lot of pressure on. That’s what we want our ‘talls’ to do.”

Patrick Naish, midfielder (Northern Knights)

“Patrick is a pretty smooth player. He’s got good footy IQ . . . he sees where the ball’s flowing and gets to the right spots. He’s a good run-to-handball receive player and he’s got great kicking skills. We can see him playing in a lot of positions – wing, half-back, half-forward and, maybe eventually, more through the centre bounces, which he did with the Northern Knights (in the TAC Cup). But he’s more that running type of player, who we want to actually use the footy.” 

Ben Miller, tall utility (Subiaco, WAFL)

“We were a little bit surprised that he was still there on our board considering where we rated him. Ben’s got a lot of tools to work with. He hasn’t done a lot of training because he’s been living in Kalgoorlie. He only got down to Perth to play, and probably only trained a couple of times with the Subiaco Colts in the main season. So he’s pretty raw, but is very athletic, got great speed, kicks the ball well, and is a really good individual, who comes from a great family. We’re really excited to get him late.”