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Ross relishes return

Highlights: Round 21 Highlights of the Round 21 match against Carlton.

Richmond draftee Jack Ross relished the opportunity to go head-to-head with a hero on Sunday afternoon.

Despite playing just one half in the VFL after nearly a three-month lay-off following surgery on an ankle syndesmosis injury, Ross was brought into the side after Dustin Martin withdrew with general soreness.

The strongly built 18-year-old played on a Brownlow favourite in Patrick Cripps in Richmond's 28-point win over Carlton.

While Cripps finished with 37 disposals, Ross limited his impact at stoppages to four clearances and held him scoreless.

The young Tiger finished with 21 disposals, 20 pressure acts and six clearances of his own.

"He's obviously a big body, and the coaches were pretty keen on me trying to body him up as much as I could," Ross told afl.com.au.

"He's a mountain of a man, it was a big task, but it was something that I wanted to do.

"I idolised him as a young one, so being able to play on him, seeing how he plays and just learn from him, was a great opportunity."

Coach Damien Hardwick said Cripps' contested work was difficult to stop, but he was happy with Ross' efforts.

"He only had four clearances, so we're pretty happy with that. [The] centre bounce I think we dominated which is a really important part of game, especially in wet conditions," Hardwick said.

"[Ross had] only played a half, which was a big ask for the kid when the coach rings and asks if you're right to go.

"He's the sort of kid who's not going to say, 'no, I think I need another run,', he'll just put his hand up and go. I love the way he plays, I love what he represents and I'm so glad he's one of our players."

Ross played five games before his untimely ankle injury and has taken the positives out of his forced 11-week break in his first year.

"I think having the injury actually helped me a fair bit. I've heard that AFL footy in your career is very much up and down, so for me to have this early in my career and experience it, I think it'll hold me in good stead for the future," Ross said.

"If it happens again, touch wood, I'll know how to tackle it and bounce back. I've been pretty happy with my year so far, just looking forward to the rest of it."

Instead of the usual PlayStation most players use to switch off, Ross uses drawing and sketching.

"I studied it at Caulfield (Grammar) in year 12 and my dad is a graphic designer," he said.

"I've always been around art and I love doing it outside of football, it helps me wind down a bit and just relax."

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