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Balta a bright light

Tall Tiger can play at both ends of the ground Get to know our new versatile draftee, Noah Balta.

Richmond recruit Noah Balta has been acclaimed as a young player with tremendous upside.

Balta, who was taken by the Tigers with their third pick (No. 25 overall) in the 2017 AFL national draft, showcased his impressive athleticism and versatility throughout this year.

He had a key defensive role for Vic Metro during the under-18 national championships, but also produced some eye-catching performances playing as a key forward and ruckman with TAC Cup team Calder Cannons.

VIDEO: Draftee's first training session

“Noah is just a natural talent that could be anything and could do anything,” Calder Cannons talent manager Ian Kyte told ‘The Leader’ newspaper.

“He could play in any position on the ground at AFL level . . .

“He could even turn into a big-bodied midfielder along the lines of Patrick Cripps at Carlton.

“I had recruiters say to me (before the draft) ‘he could pinch-hit in the ruck at AFL level, but we are not going to draft him as a ruckman’.

“But you could throw him in there on occasion if you had to.

“As time goes by, and he becomes accustomed to an AFL environment, he’s going to be a very good player.”

Kyte rates Balta’s explosive pace, marking ability, kicking skills and competitiveness as his major on-field strengths.

Former Calder Cannons coach Andrew Johnston also believes Balta has an extremely high ceiling in terms of, potentially, what he can achieve at the game’s highest level.

“I reckon it’s a great pick-up from Richmond,” Johnston said.

“He’s versatile . . . and he has some special attributes.

“The exciting thing about him is he has just got so much more to learn.

“His athletic ability, to (be able to) sit on guys’ heads and kick goals from 70 metres out, his sprint, his agility . . . he can do some miraculous things.

“He has just got to get a little bit more consistent in it, that’s all.”