Richmond has secured its first Next Generation Academy Program selection, drafting Mildura product Derek Eggmolesse-Smith as a Category B rookie.

Eggmolesse-Smith, 19, came to the Club’s attention in 2014 when he commenced Phase 1 of the Korin Gamadji Institute’s Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leadership (REAL) Program.

The former Bendigo Pioneer and Wentworth District footballer is also a product of the highly successful Laguntas program, which has seen nine participants drafted to AFL clubs since its inception in 2012.

An exciting and quick defender, Eggmolesse-Smith then joined the Tigers Next Generation Academy Program, following its launch in 2016.

He trained with the VFL Tigers this year and played five matches for Craig McRae’s side.

Richmond’s general manager – football talent Dan Richardson officially welcomed Eggmolesse-Smith to the Club following today’s 2018 Rookie Draft. 

“We have invested significantly in our Academy zone and Derek’s selection is a credit to our club and its centre for Indigenous youth, the Korin Gamadji Institute,” Richardson said.

“Derek is a talented Indigenous footballer who has gone from strength to strength since he became engaged in our NGA and VFL programs.

“This reinforces that our Academy provides a genuine pathway for Indigenous and multicultural boys and girls to play elite football.”

Richmond’s NGA further builds on the connection the Korin Gamadji Institute (KGI) has created with regional Victorian Aboriginal communities.

Richmond’s NGAP region includes AFL Central Vic, Central Murray, Goulburn Murray, North East Border and Sunraysia– the Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers catchments.

The Program, in conjunction with the above partners, introduces the game of Australian Rules to both boys and girls, aged 5-18 years, who are from Indigenous and multicultural backgrounds. It aims to create a culturally affirming environment in order for them to thrive in the talent pathway.

Earlier this year Plenary Group partnered with Richmond’s Next Generation Academy, to further enhance the Program.