Richmond’s defence has looked significantly better since Noah Balta was swung back there in the Round 11 Dreamtime at the ‘G’ clash with Essendon.

Balta spent the early part of the season up forward before suffering a knee injury that sidelined him for several weeks.

He slotted into the forward line again upon his return but following consecutive hefty losses to Western Bulldogs and Brisbane, coach Adem Yze moved him into defence.


The athletic 24-year-old hasn’t looked back since (both figuratively and literally).

In the past three games, Balta has averaged 16.6 disposals, 9.3 marks, 5.0 rebound-50s, 7.6 intercepts and 458.3 metres gained per match.

He was exceptional in the Tigers’ impressive win against Adelaide at Adelaide Oval last Thursday night with 20 disposals, a game-high 12 marks, seven intercepts, five rebound-50s and 523 metres gained.

Balta’s 2020 premiership teammate Nathan Broad is rapt to be playing alongside him again in the backline.

Broad provided an insight into Balta’s importance to the playing group, both on and off the field, during a post-match interview with Channel Seven last Thursday night.

“He’s an energiser as well,” Broad said.

“Pre-game, he’s always having a laugh, keeping it relaxed. Then he goes out there and he’s moving some big boys around and taking marks. Not many blokes in the AFL can do that.


“We needed that stability down back, although I do like him as a forward as well.

“See what happens in the future, but him taking big contested, intercept marks, is good for the boys.”

Another key Tiger, Liam Baker, also extolled Balta’s virtues in a post-game interview with Channel Seven.

“Balta’s been massive since coming back down to defence.” Baker said.

“The great thing about Balta is he can play full-forward, he can play full-back.


“He’s such an asset to our footy club.

“Since him being back in the side, our performance has been a lot better.”