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Sydney’s hard work stacks up

Stack on becoming a Tiger Richmond recruit, Sydney Stack, speaks to Roar Vision about officially becoming a Tiger.

After two months spent earning his stripes, Sydney Stack says he can’t stop smiling now he has cemented his spot at Tigerland.   

Stack was yesterday announced as the final member of Richmond’s 2019 playing group.

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Despite being overlooked in the 2018 AFL Draft, the West Australian’s talent was indisputable.

He has trained with the Tigers since December as part of the AFL’s new Pre-Season Supplemental Selection Period, pouring his heart and soul into proving himself.

The 18-year-old said the anxious wait was well worth the end result.

“Not getting drafted was a big disappointment but the opportunity to come train (at Richmond) with the AFL new rules was terrific and I just really had to earn my spot,” he said. 

“It got a bit stressful at times as training got harder… but all the hard work paid off and now I’m on the list. 

“It’s a fantastic club and I couldn’t be happier.”

Stack, who lived with senior coach Damien Hardwick when he first arrived in Melbourne, said he was instantly welcomed into the Tigerland family.

“The first week I came here the boys really got around me, and got me up and about,” he said.

“(They) just made me feel at home and to see the Club as family.”

On the field, Stack boasts versatility. While he has spent time in the midfield and up forward in the past, he has been training with Richmond’s backline.

“I grew up as a backman so I don’t mind playing back,” he said.

“The senior boys have really helped me with structure and defence.”

He credited Richmond defenders Alex Rance, Dylan Grimes and Nathan Broad for their guidance as he developed the discipline and professionalism required at the top level.

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One Tiger who was adamant on Stack's potential at Punt Road Oval was draftee Luke English, who also hails from Perth.

The pair were both named in the Under-18 All-Australian team last year and were teammates at Perth and Western Australia.

“It’s terrific, me and Lukey have been on this journey since we were 15 or 14,” Stack said.

“Just seeing him develop through Perth and the development squad there and playing (WAFL) Colts footy together and State 18s as well…he really worked hard to get (to Richmond).”

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The speedster, who is known for his hardness at the ball and competitive nature, said the two-month trial at Tigerland taught him the importance of hard work and persistence.

“I got a bit teary when the coaches talked about my work ethic… it took a long journey to get here,” Stack said.

“It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of the AFL journey.”