Richmond has bolstered its VFL midfield with the addition of former Port Adelaide (AFL) and Footscray (VFL) midfielder Joel Garner.

Garner, who is already employed by the AFL program full-time as an Indigenous Player Development Manager, will now ply his trade for the Club on field and as a VFL development coach.

The 24-year-old played four senior games at Port Adelaide across four years at Alberton after being selected at pick No. 60 at the 2017 AFL National Draft.

Garner featured 23 times for the Bulldogs across the past two VFL seasons, averaging 19 disposals and booting 12 majors.

The big-bodied midfielder with a booming left foot had 25 touches and kicked two goals when playing against Richmond at Punt Road earlier this year.

Garner then returned to his local club, Wandin, late in 2023 and played a pivotal role in them winning the Outer East premiership.

The former Victoria Metro U/18 captain told Richmond Media he was excited about joining the VFL program as a player.

“Having worked at the Club for the past 12 months, first with the Korin Gamadji Institute and then with the AFL program, the prospect of also playing my football here jumped out at me,” he said.

“On the field I hope I can add to the team- but I and am also looking forward to the prospect of extending my work with the young Indigenous players in a football sense.”

As a development coach Garner said he was looking forward to working with players looking to make their mark on state league football.

“Both the young guys that are AFL listed playing VFL and those that are testing themselves out at VFL level from either local football or NAB league programs, I am looking forward to working with,” he said.

“Already in my time at the Club, Footscray and even Wandin, I have worked with some great young kids and helping them get some exposure to a high level of footy is exciting.

“I can’t wait for the season ahead.”