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Baker in the mix

2017 Rookie Draft: Pick 18, Liam Baker Highlights of Richmond's pick 18 in the 2017 Rookie Draft, Liam Baker.

Dual premiership coach of WAFL club Subiaco Jarrad Schofield is convinced Richmond rookie draft selection Liam Baker possesses the required attributes to play AFL football.

Baker, 19, played 13 games, kicked 19 goals for Subiaco, and averaged 16 disposals per match in his first season at the club this year after transferring from West Perth, when he missed out on being drafted to the AFL at the end of 2016.

The tenacious, skilful small forward was the WA Lions’ best player in their preliminary final victory over South Fremantle, picking up 17 disposals, kicking three goals, and earning high praise for the crucial strong defensive pressure he applied throughout the match.

He subsequently was one of Subiaco’s best players in the grand final loss to Peel Thunder, finishing with 19 disposals.

In the lead-up to last Monday’s AFL rookie draft, Schofield had urged West Coast and Fremantle to look closely at securing Baker’s services, citing the capacity to lift for big games against quality opposition as evidence he could take the next step in his football career.

“He has only been at our club for a short time, but what he has shown in that time is his commitment and his want to improve his game,” Schofield said.

“The only thing that clubs may be concerned about is Liam’s stature, but he is a little terrier who can play that small forward half-forward role, which he did quite well for us.

“He is one of the guys who I would expect the WA clubs should be looking at.

“I think he has shown enough to indicate he can play at the highest level.

“He was close to getting drafted last year and he has improved again and shown that he can play league footy.”

“I am confident he is good enough to go. I just hope he doesn’t have to wait another 12 months for it to happen.”

Richmond selected Baker with its only pick (No. 18 overall) in the rookie draft.