As the Richmond recruiters continue their meticulous preparation in the lead-up to the 2021 AFL national draft, with the Club extremely well placed having five picks inside the top 30, I couldn’t help but reflect on the 30th anniversary of the 1991 draft from a Tigers’ perspective.
Richmond had seven selections in that draft, but the first of those wasn’t until pick 49.
The Tigers took Swan Districts player Todd Hawes at that pick, followed by Shaun Brooker from Sydney at No. 51, Glenn Hoffman from Essendon at No. 55, North Launceston’s Nick Roney at No. 66, Subiaco’s Jay Burton at No. 77, four-time Hawthorn premiership player John Kennedy junior at No. 85, and rounded it out with Paul Dimattina from the Club’s under-19s at No. 89.
Incredibly, out of those seven picks, not one went on to play a senior game for Richmond. In fact, only Burton and Dimattina plied their football trade with the Tigers. The others never even joined the Club.
Both Burton and Dimattina played reserve-grade football at Richmond. Burton eventually returned to Western Australia, while Dimattina ended up carving out an impressive playing career with the Western Bulldogs.
Kennedy had retired from AFL football in 1991, aged 31, following an excellent 241-game career with the Hawks, which included four flags.
The Tigers felt he was still capable of providing their young playing group with valuable on-field assistance, so they took a chance on him late in the ’91 draft.
But that, like the other six selections, proved futile.
Thankfully, there is a lot more science attached to drafting these days.