Josh Gibcus will make his senior debut in Richmond's season opener against Carlton on Thursday night at the MCG.

The 18-year-old key defender, 196cm and 87kg, was Richmond's first selection in the 2021 NAB AFL Draft, taken with pick No. 9.

The athletic Tiger was born in Brisbane and grew up in Queensland and Western Australia before moving to Ballarat.

He was touted as the best intercept defender in last year's draft pool, leading the NAB League for intercept marks playing for Greater Western Victoria Rebels in 2021.

Announcing the news to the playing group on Tuesday morning, coach Damien Hardwick said Gibcus had done a power of work to earn his guernsey.

00:56 Mins
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Gibcus to debut in Round 1

Josh Gibcus will make his senior debut against Carlton in Round 1 this Thursday night at the MCG.

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"There’s nothing more exciting than when you add a new face," Hardwick said.

"It’s exciting, first and foremost, for Josh and his family, but it’s exciting for us as a team.

10:08 Mins
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First Gamers: A new generation of Tiger

In episode one of 'First Gamers', backed by Latitude, we follow the pre-season journeys of Josh Gibcus and Tom Brown.

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"We’re very fortunate to have first gamers come in and make an immediate contribution.

"Look forward to it, mate. Just bring your strengths, that’s all you’ve gotta do."