In the lead-up to the 2021 AFL national draft, Tony Greenberg takes a look at the Tigers’ first success story from the competition’s inaugural draft.

Richmond had five picks in the 1986 initial national draft, but only one of them went on to play senior football with the Club.

That player was Trent Nichols, a speedy, skilful, left-foot rover with clever goal sense, from Tasmanian club Sandy Bay.

The Tigers selected Richard Anderson from SANFL club Norwood with their first pick (No. 4 overall) in the ’86 draft and took Nichols next (pick 17 overall).

Anderson never made the move to Victoria, nor did another South Australian in Greg Whittlesea (from Sturt), who was Richmond’s final pick in that draft (No. 56 overall).

The Club’s two other selections were Matthew Sexton (pick 30) from Bendigo club Sandhurst and Andrew Gray (pick 43) from St Patrick’s College, Ballarat.

Sexton played some reserve-grade football with the Tigers, while Gray opted not to try his luck at Punt Road.

Nichols, however, turned out to be a valuable acquisition for the Club.

He spent the 1987 season in Richmond’s under-19s and reserves, before making his senior league debut in the opening round of 1988 against Melbourne at the MCG.

The talented Tassie teenager played 18 games all-up in his ’88 debut season, racking up plenty of possessions and kicking 14 goals.

In 1990, Nichols kicked 24 goals, polled the most Brownlow Medal votes by a Richmond player that year (10) and finished runner-up in the Club’s Best and Fairest award.

Nichols departed Tigerland at the end of the 1991 season and joined the West Coast Eagles. But after managing only four senior appearances with them, he returned to Victoria, lining up with North Melbourne.

Then, following a three-year stint at Arden Street, he was enticed back to Richmond, where he spent the final couple of seasons of his AFL career.

Overall, Nichols played 75 games and kicked 65 goals for the Tigers.