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Garthwaite’s happy homecoming

Tony Greenberg,  February 26, 2018 9:42 AM

JLT 1: Garthwaite post-match Ryan Garthwaite speaks to Roar Vision following Richmond's JLT Community Series win over Essendon.
  - Ryan Garthwaite

Talented, young tall utility Ryan Garthwaite had extra reason to be pleased making his first senior appearance with Richmond in last Saturday’s JLT Community Series match against Essendon at Wangaratta’s Norm Minns Oval.

It’s a ground Garthwaite has intimate knowledge of, having played many home games there at TAC Cup level for Murray Bushrangers, as well as away fixtures with Corowa-Rutherglen in the Ovens and Murray league.

The 19-year-old produced a solid first-up display in the Tigers’ senior line-up, finishing with 10 disposals, three marks, four intercepts, six score involvements, 11 pressure acts and several hit-outs, in the unfamiliar role of ruckman, when Toby Nankervis was sidelined after copping a heavy knock to the head.

“I was very lucky to be able to play the first game for Richmond at my home ground. It felt amazing,” Garthwaite told ‘Roar Vision’ in a post-match interview.

“The crowd was great, really got behind the Tiges, which was good, and it was a good win for the Club.”

Although Garthwaite’s move into the ruck was a surprise, he embraced it in typical style.

“It wasn’t planned on playing there, but pinched-hit, helped out ‘Cholly’ (Mabior Chol) and loved every minute of it . . . loved competing and challenging myself in there. It was good,” he said.

“Versatility’s something that I like to have in my game, whether it’s playing forward, ruck or back.

“I think it’s something that is one of my attributes and, hopefully, it can be utilised in the future.

“But I love playing down back. It’s so easy to play with them (the defenders), with their communication and their voice. You know when to go, you know when to hold back . . .

“Being out there with all the backs was amazing, and first game for the Club is something I’ll never forget.”

Garthwaite has straightforward aims for the 2018 season.

“Just to keep improving, at VFL or AFL level. Learning off the best defenders in the league and the best team in the league. And playing my role for the team.”

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick paid tribute to Garthwaite in his post-match press conference last Saturday.

“I thought he was terrific today,” Hardwick said.

“The thing we love about this kid is he just competes.

“Whether he plays (senior football) this year or not I’m not too sure, but we love the way he’s building on his game.

“He’s going to be a long-term player for us, I feel.

“He reminds me very much of David Astbury at the same time in his career.

“So we’ve got really high hopes for ‘Garthy’.

“He’s just got to continue to believe in himself because we certainly believe in him as a group, as coaches and players.”