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Coaches' Corner: Liam Baker

Coaches' Corner: Baker In this week's edition of Coaches' Corner, Matthew Richardson and Development Coach, Xavier Clarke, discuss Liam Baker's development and 2018 form.

Richmond development coach Xavier Clarke provides ‘Roar Vision’ with an insight into the impressive development of the Tigers’ mature-age recruit Liam Baker.

Persistence pays off

“He’s a great little kid, Liam. He missed out on a draft, so he played a bit of WAFL footy and started a plumbing apprenticeship . . . He just went back and worked really hard in the WAFL as a small forward. I think our recruiters really liked what he did in the under-18 national championships . . . To be able to go back and back it up in the WAFL, we were lucky to get him, I think. He’s been a great little player for us so far in the VFL and has already put his hand up for senior selection. He’s been emergency once and carry-over once for the trip to Sydney (v GWS in Round 17). So he’s doing a lot right.”

High football IQ

“He’s a smart footballer. He sees the game really well . . . He had to learn how to play our system, and he picked it up really quickly.”

Hungry for the leather

“I think the beauty about Liam is that he loves hunting the footy, which we love. He wants to get his hands on the ball . . .”

Popular playing group member

“He’s fitted really well into our culture. I think it kicked off when the first-year boys had the camp to Tasmania and he just bought in from the start, which is fantastic. And he earned respect from the group through his work-rate . . . He’s been a great addition.”

A Lambert lookalike

“He’s very similar to Kane Lambert the way he plays, with his ability to be able to run up and back. He’s got pace, and that change of pace, which really helps him as well. He can run all day, which is a great strength. And he’s also very tough over the footy, and good with the ball. He’s got a lot of really good attributes. Last weekend (v Sandringham), he actually just played purely as a forward, just to learn those running patterns. He kicked three goals and probably could have had more. He gave a few off and his work-rate was great . . . He tackled well, as well. He’s probably a forward that can go into the midfield as well, and then spread really hard from contests.” 

Potential role at AFL level

“At this stage, I’d think it’d be as a small forward, something like a Dan Butler-type role, with the ability to be able to go in the midfield as well for small stints.”