Richmond's Next Generation Academy is underway for the year, with the first NGA Elite program of 2024 held at the Swinburne Centre earlier this month. 

Participants, aged 14 to 18, included some of the best young talent across the Tigers' NGA region, hailing from Coates League teams Bendigo Pioneers and Murray Bushrangers.


The aspiring footballers were put through their paces as they experienced a 'day in the life' of an athlete at Punt Road, gaining valuable insights into elite behaviours. 

They underwent a tough training session at Tigerland, and spent time with Richmond staff, who educated the footballers about talent pathway opportunities.

All participants, who also began their Coates League pre-seasons this month, demonstrated a positive attitude and brought plenty of energy to the day.

The future is looking bright for the talented youngsters, who'll be aspiring to follow in the footsteps of recent participants such as Pala Kuma, who was recently signed to the Club's VFL side.

Budding young footballers and siblings Ellie and Tanner Armstrong, who hail from Shepparton, said they had developed important on and off-field skills throughout the three years they had been involved in the program.

Seventeen-year-old Ellie, who idolises AFLW Tiger Monique Conti, said being drafted by Richmond was her ultimate dream.

Her younger brother Tanner, who is 15 and attends boarding school at Scotch College, remarked that leadership was the biggest thing he had taken away from the program.

"We've attended all of the camps that they've put on for all the kids around our area. It's been a good opportunity that other kids don't get," he said.

"Most of all, (we) have fun and enjoy every moment."

The Richmond Academy introduces the game of Australian Rules to both boys and girls, aged 5-18 years, who are from Indigenous and multicultural backgrounds where they may not have been exposed to the sport before.

Launching in early 2016, Richmond has focused its Academy engagement and talent identification to the Goulburn Murray, Bendigo, Sunraysia, and North Central areas of Victoria.

The region includes AFL Central, Central Murray, Goulburn Murray, North East Border, Sunraysia and Wimmera Mallee – the Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers catchments.