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Greenberg’s Grabs - 2017 Draft

Higgins' GOTY contenders Watch the very best goals from Jack Higgins during 2017.
Jack Higgins comes to Richmond from East Malvern, the same junior club as Tommy Hafey.  - Jack Higgins
Jack Higgins comes to Richmond from East Malvern, the same junior club as Tommy Hafey.

In the wake of the AFL’s 2017 drafts, Tony Greenberg delves deep to bring Yellow and Black barrackers some interesting Tiger tidbits.


Richmond will enter the 2018 season with just short of half its playing group under 22 years of age.

Following the recent AFL national rookie drafts, there are now 22 players who fit into that age bracket at Tigerland out of a combined total of 45 (both primary and rookie lists).

The Tigers’ 22 under 22 (in surname alphabetical order) are:  Liam Baker (20), Noah Balta (18), Shai Bolton (19), Dan Butler (21), Jason Castagna (21), Mabior Chol (21), Callum Coleman-Jones (18), Nathan Drummond (21), Derek Eggmolesse-Smith (19), Corey Ellis (21), Ryan Garthwaite (19), Jack Graham (19), Jack Higgins (19), Oleg Markov (21), Connor Menadue (21), Ben Miller (18), Callum Moore (21), Patrick Naish (19), Daniel Rioli (20), Jayden Short (22), Ivan Soldo (21) and Tyson Stengle (19).

Those 22 talented Tiger youngsters translate into a fairly handy team, too, as you can see below . . .  

B:  Short, Garthwaite, Chol

HB:  Markov, Miller, Naish

C:  Menadue, C. Ellis, Moore

HF:  Castagna, Balta, Higgins

F:  Bolton, Coleman-Jones, Butler

R:  Soldo, Graham, Rioli

IC:  Stengle, Drummond, Baker, Eggmolesse-Smith


At the other end of the age scale, the only player at Richmond, who will be more than 30 years of age going into season 2018, is ruckman Shaun Hampson.

Big ‘Hammer’ turns 30 on March 21, which is the day before the Tigers’ opening round clash with his former club Carlton.

The other Richmond players who will celebrate their 30th birthday later next year are Shaun Grigg (April 19), Bachar Houli (May 12), Shane Edwards (October 25) and Jack Riewoldt (October 31).

There’s one new Tiger that five-time Hawthorn premiership champion and now respected football commentator, Dermott Brereton, will have not-so-fond memories of, when he watches him in action on the AFL stage.

Back in 2012, Brereton was coaching Beaumaris Sharks against East Malvern in the grand final of the South Metropolitan Junior Football League’s under-13 competition. 

The Sharks had been in front for the entire match, but with less than 30 seconds to play, a free kick was awarded to East Malvern from a congested pack in its forward line.

The East Malvern player who took the free kick calmly slotted it through for what was the match-winning goal, much to the disappointment of Brereton and his young charges.

That composed kid, and East Malvern hero, was Richmond’s first pick in the 2017 AFL national draft, Jack Higgins.

He was East Malvern’s under-13s captain and capped off a best-on-ground performance in the grand final with his premiership-winning goal.


Jack Higgins is following in illustrious footsteps with his football journey from East Malvern to Richmond.

It’s the same path the great Tommy Hafey took back in the early 1950s.

Hafey attended Lloyd Street Primary School in East Malvern and went on to play football with East Malvern, working his way through from the club’s under-19s to senior ranks.

He played at senior level for East Malvern from 1950-52, winning the club’s best and fairest in 1952, before joining Richmond, where he had a 67-game career from 1953-58.

But Hafey, of course, is much more renowned for his Richmond coaching career, guiding the Tigers to four premierships (1967, 1969, 1973, 1974) and subsequently gaining ‘Immortal’ status at the Club.


Richmond General Manager of Football Neil Balme will have a special affinity with new Tiger duo Ben Miller and Liam Baker.

Miller, who was Richmond’s fifth and final pick in the 2017 national draft, and Baker, its sole selection in the rookie draft, were recruited from WAFL club Subiaco, where Balme played during the late 1960s, before being recruited by the Tigers.

The drafting of Miller and Baker brings to seven the number of players from WAFL ranks currently at Tigerland.

Those two Subiaco youngsters join premiership trio Alex Rance (Swan Districts), Nathan Broad (Swan Districts) and Kamdyn McIntosh (Peel Thunder), along with Reece Conca (Perth) and Shai Bolton (South Fremantle).

That Richmond-WAFL connection has now become bigger than the Tigers’ link with the SANFL.

There are five players from the SANFL on Richmond’s list for season 2018 – premiership pair Shane Edwards (North Adelaide) and Jack Graham (North Adelaide), plus Oleg Markov (North Adelaide), Tyson Stengle (Woodville-West Torrens) and the Club’s second selection in the 2017 national draft, Callum Coleman-Jones (Sturt).


The Tiger talent scouts have taken a special shine to young SA players with leadership qualities.

Late last year, Richmond drafted inside midfielder Jack Graham, who was the captain of the SA team in the 2016 under-18 championships.

In this year’s national draft, the Tigers secured the services of forward/ruckman Callum Coleman-Jones, who captained the SA side at the 2017 under-18 carnival.