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‘Leppa’ backs Balta  May 16, 2018 9:27 AM

Coaches' corner: Balta In this week's edition of Coaches' Corner, Matthew Richardson and Assistant Coach, Justin Leppitsch, discuss Noah Balta's development and 2018 season.

Richmond assistant coach Justin Leppitsch is well qualified to assess the similarities between talented, versatile, young Tiger ‘tall’ Noah Balta and the Club’s outstanding key defender Alex Rance.

Leppitsch played a significant role in Rance’s development during his early days at Tigerland, and is now closely involved with Balta’s growth at the game’s highest level.

Balta, who was Richmond’s third pick (No. 25 overall) in the 2017 AFL national draft, has impressed at VFL level during the early part of season 2018, playing both as a backman and forward.

“He really has Alex Rance attributes, when I think about it, as a young key,” Leppitsch said on this week’s edition of Roar Vision’s ‘Coaches’ Corner’.

“The way he attacks the game, the way he thinks about the game, is very similar to Alex.

“Let’s hope he turns out to be half as good a player . . .

“He’s had some games (this season) where he’s got over 20 possessions, which is a good sign.

“He hasn’t done that a lot, but if you can actually do that within your game, it shows you can take that to the next level and then really be a ‘Rancey’-type player.”

Leppitsch highlighted Balta’s on-field qualities . . .

“His ability to jump, his strength and power, is probably the big part of his game. He tackles with a lot of aggression as well,” Leppitsch said.

“He’s had some games where he just really crashed packs. And, for an 18-year-old boy to be doing this already, it’s great signs.

“He likes to take off with the ball, and doesn’t mind using his left foot at times as well.

“He’s a powerful unit and he gets lots of distance on the ball.

“He’s a good shape and size, he’s a big boy . . . he’s already a man’s shape.

“Eventually, when he gets his footy nous up and going, he’s going to be a really good player . . . It’s exciting for us.”