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VFL Tigers ready for Bulldogs battle

Jacob Ballard will captain the VFL Tigers on Saturday - Richmond Tigers,VFL
Jacob Ballard will captain the VFL Tigers on Saturday

The VFL Tigers will look to stay atop the ladder on Saturday when they meet Footscray at VU Whitten Oval from 1.00pm.

Leading the Tigers out will be Jacob Ballard, who will take on the captain duties in Steve Morris’ absence.

It will be a familiar role for Ballard, who has skippered the Tigers on three occasions already this year.

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After experiencing close contests against the Bulldogs in their past few meetings, Ballard is expecting another tough battle in enemy territory on Saturday afternoon.

“(Footscray) have always been a pretty tough opponent for us, it’s always a tough match-up,” he said.

A key member of the program, Ballard, 24, joined the VFL Tigers in 2016 after spending two years on Fremantle's rookie list.

His versatility on the field coupled with his leadership traits has seen him become a stalwart of the side.

A member of Richmond VFL’s leadership team for the past three years, Ballard said it was an “honour” to captain the side.

“I love being a part of the leadership group,” he said.

“It’s always a shame not having Moz (Steve Morris) out there because we know how good he is as a leader, and how he sets the bar really high.

“But the way we’ve been going this year and the way our team works, someone else just comes in and puts the jumper on and not too much changes.”

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Ballard believes the continuity within the VFL-listed players in the team is something that has held the Tigers in good stead this year, currently with a 10-1 record.

“I think having a core group in the VFL now for a number of years has lent itself to success,” he said.

“I’m really proud. It’s definitely been a great start to the season, but it’s nothing that we didn’t expect that we had the potential to do.

“It’s a great position to be in and gives us every chance to build into a good finals run.”

The VFL Tigers have added seven to their Round 14 side, headed by AFL-listed rebounding defender Oleg Markov, who returns following a one-week suspension.

Chad Harris, Charlie Thompson, Shaun Mannagh, Connor Riley, Nick Baltas and Lachlan Street round out the inclusions.

Out of the side that defeated Sandringham by 15 points in Round 13 is Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, who will make his debut with Richmond’s senior side, Bailey Lambert and Morris.

The Bulldogs match will mark Connor Menadue's 50th VFL game. 

The VFLW Tigers will run out onto VU Whitten Oval at 4.00pm to face the Western Bulldogs following the 1.00pm VFL clash.

Tiger fans can follow live updates from Footscray via the Richmond VFL Twitter and Instagram accounts.

VFL Round 14 team
Richmond vs. Footscray
VU Whitten Oval, Footscray
1.00pm

B: 38. N. Balta, 53. H. Beasley, 78. D. Coffield
HB: 31. O. Markov, 42. R. Garthwaite, 45. P. Naish
C: 7. D. Butler, 26. R. Collier-Dawkins, 37. C. Menadue
HF: 39. J. Aarts, 79. W. Coates, 64. T. Silvestro
F: 48. L. Baker, 54. J. Ballard, 13. J. Higgins
R: 40. C. Coleman-Jones, 21. J. Townsend, 16. M. Weller
Int: 61. J. Fletcher, 56. B. Grewar, 58. C. Harris, 52. S. Mannagh, 62. L. Nelson, 68. C. Riley , 55. L. Street, 60. C. Thompson
23P: 71. N. Baltas

In: C. Harris, C. Thompson, S. Mannagh, C. Riley , N. Baltas, O. Markov, L. Street
Out: D. Eggmolesse-Smith, B. Lambert, S. Morris