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Short shift a big winner

Round 16: The Richmond way The Tigers show pressure, teamwork and finish truly.

Jayden Short has opened up on the transformation he’s undergone from small forward to a slick, quick defender, who generates significant drive for Richmond through his hard running and booming kicking.

Short was recruited by the Tigers as a rookie selection (No. 11 overall) in late 2015.

He was elevated to the Club’s senior playing list on the eve of the 2016 season as a replacement for injured teammate Reece Conca.

His AFL debut came against Collingwood at the MCG in Round 2 and he kicked three goals in a promising display as a small forward.

By the end of that season, however, Short was plying his trade on-field as a small defender. And now, nearly two years on, he’s developed into one of the best small defenders in the competition.

“I got a bit lucky in my first game. I kicked three goals and then played the next week and didn’t get a kick. So they had to put me down the backline . . . get me out of the forward line because I wasn’t doing too much down there,” Short told K-Rock following another top-class display for Richmond in last Friday night’s victory over Adelaide at the MCG.

“I’ve loved going down back. I think I can make the most of my offensive ability and my kicking skills down there.”

Short lost his place in Richmond’s senior side late last season after playing 16 games and was a spectator on Grand Final day when the Tigers broke their 37-year premiership drought.

He’s used that disappointment as added incentive this season to take his game up to the next level.

“I obviously wanted to play in the AFL team, so I set myself a high standard to get in the team and hold my spot,” he said.

“I want to do the best I can and help the team as much as I can, and get around the boys as much as I can. I just love playing with the boys, they make my job easy out there.

“I’ve got some great players around me . . . they look after me. Just as I try to help them with my offense, they help me out with their defence, which is unbelievable . . .”

Short’s ability to roost the ball with such precision has become a real weapon for the Tigers.

“It’s something I’ve always prided my game on, it’s something I’m always working on as well.

“You can probably see that I don’t handball too much, which is probably something I do need to work on.

“But I do enjoy getting the ball on my boot and I just try and get it as much as I can . . . just try and do the best I can for the boys and try and make something happen.”