Richmond captain Trent Cotchin has paid tribute to young, small Tiger defender Liam Baker, who is preparing for his second AFL final following an impressive first-up September performance at the game’s highest level against Brisbane in the qualifying final.

Baker was a valuable contributor in Richmond’s victory over the Lions at the Gabba, picking up 16 disposals and providing run, vitality and composure across the Tigers’ backline.

MESSAGE THE TEAM Send a message of support to the team during the finals

The 21-year-old from Western Australia is thriving after being moved during this season from the forward line into defence.

He is averaging 17.1 disposals, 4.1 intercepts, 4.0 intercepts, 3.4 tackles, 3.3 marks and 242.9 metres gained per match in the 17 games he’s played at senior level.

Among 2019 AFL rising star contenders, he is ranked seventh for intercepts, ninth for total disposals and ninth for tackles.

“For a little, little man, he’s got a big heart,” Cotchin said.

“His contest work’s incredible for someone of his stature and we just love what he brings.

“He’s got great energy and he’s always smiling.

“He loved his first finals experience at AFL level.”