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Focus on Jack Graham

Coaches Corner: Graham In this week's edition of Coaches Corner, Development Coach Xavier Clarke talks about the progression of Jack Graham during his time at the Club.

Richmond development coach Xavier Clarke assesses the development of the Tigers’ second pick in the 2016 AFL National Draft, Jack Graham, in this week’s ‘Coaches’ Corner’.


Early injury woes

“Jack’s been injured a couple of times this year. He came to us with a bit of hamstring tendinitis, which took a while to get over. Then, when he started training, and looked like playing his first game, he unfortunately broke his ankle in a training drill. So that set him back again.” 

Respect through rehab

“It showed his strength to be able to turn up and get the work done. No-one wants to be stuck in rehab – it’s not the best place to be at a footy club, especially when you’re new. You want to be out there training. But he earned a lot of respect, just through rehab, with the way he applied himself and the hard work that he did to be able to get back out on the track.

Playing attributes

“He’s a ball-winning ‘bull’, who certainly can run pretty hard offensively and defensively. And he’s got some really good leadership qualities as well. He captained SA under-18s last year and won the (Larke) Medal in the carnival. So he’s got some great qualities that we’re starting to see now . . . He was frustrated because he couldn’t show what he’s really good at, but we’re starting to see that now in a small sample size in the VFL. He sees the game well, and uses the ball really well, with his short and long options . . .”

His performance v Northern Blues last Sunday

“What I liked about his game is he tracked the footy. He only had about 70 percent game time, but finished with 15 disposals and had a big impact on the game . . . His GPS results were really high, and that’s off the back of his running capacity. He played a little bit of wing this game as well, and his running ability, which enabled to get back and help our defence, was a highlight that we probably didn’t expect. But it was great for him to show that he can do that . . . Once he gets a bit more continuity in his game, with more game-time, he’s going to have even more of an impact.” 

Next step

“He’ll play a full game this week in the VFL, whether that’s purely midfield, or maybe some time on the wing. We’ll keep developing him as a player. He’s still learning the game at this level. He’s got a little bit to improve on in terms of bodywork around stoppages, but we’re pretty excited by what he, potentially, can be for this football club. And if he keeps going the way he’s going in terms of his progress, hopefully we might see another debutant this year . . . We’ll keep pushing him up and hopefully see him play senior footy.”