Richmond’s newly-appointed Recruiting Manager Matthew Clarke has outlined the reasons why the Tigers’ second 2016 National Draft selection Jack Graham can have an instant impact in the AFL competition.
Graham, a talented inside midfielder from SANFL club North Adelaide, was taken by Richmond at pick 53 overall in the Draft, much to the delight of the Tigers, who had been closely tracking his progress for a couple of years.
“Jack’s got a mature body . . . The knock on him might have been, has he got a lot (of growth) left in his body? He’s probably not going to grow much taller or get much bigger – but he doesn’t need to,” Clarke said on the Club’s official podcast ‘Talking Tigers’.
“The thing about Jack is his ability to transition-run defensively, as a midfielder, was as good as we’ve seen in a long, long time.
“A lot of the boys at junior level tend to just go chasing the ‘pill’ and get it forward and kick a goal. But Jack’s ability to stick his head down, turn the other way and run back, was as good as we’d seen in this draft pool.
“And his GPS numbers were off the clock, compared to most other boys in the group.
“So we’re really excited to have him.
“He was State (SA) under-18 captain this year and has impressive leadership qualities.
“One of our guys that works over there (in Adelaide), said they hadn’t seen one of the SA (under-18) captains like him in the last 10 years . . .
“He’s one of those guys that grabbed the players after the coach had spoken to them just to say, ‘Okay boys, this is what we’re doing, so let’s get on board’.”
Clarke is convinced Graham possesses the necessary attributes to play a decent chunk of senior football with Richmond in season 2017.
“I think because of his running ability to keep him in the game,” Clarke said.
“And Jack’s a super competitor. He tackles fiercely, he crashes in, he forces turnover, contested ball.
“If you win contested ball, can tackle and can run, you give yourself a chance to play at the elite level.”