Richmond great Matthew Richardson believes the return to the playing field next year of premiership ruckman Ivan Soldo will provide the Tigers with a significant boost.
Soldo, who recently signed a new three-year contract deal at the Club, is coming off a serious knee injury that sidelined him for the entire 2021 season.
“He’s a forgotten man outside of Richmond,” Richardson said.
“Working in the media, it staggered me that he was barely mentioned whenever the team’s injury list was discussed throughout the season.
“In 2019 and 2020, until he suffered his knee injury, he played some really good football. He was an important member of the 2019 premiership team.
“Soldo complements Toby Nankervis really well in the Tigers’ ruck set-up. “Nank” is terrific around the ground and with his follow-up work, while Soldo’s strength is at the centre bounces and stoppages through his ability to win hit-outs and provide the team’s ‘mids’ with first use.
“He’s got a big body, good aggression and is a tough competitor.
“Soldo’s also a popular clubman and, importantly, has a lot more upside to his football career.
“You’ve got to remember that he didn’t grow up playing the game – basketball and soccer were his sports of choice.
“At 25 years of age (he turns 26 next April), Soldo has played only 36 AFL games and probably wouldn’t have played 100 games of Australian Football all-up yet.
“So, as he continues to develop his ruck craft, I think he’s going to provide Richmond with plenty of value.”