In the second of a special feature series leading into the 2014 National Draft, Richmond’s Recruiting Manager, Francis Jackson, provides a fascinating insight into the 2007 drafting of the now Tiger captain and midfield star, Trent Cotchin.

Cotchin v Kreuzer
“The 2007 draft was very interesting because there were two standout players, quite clearly.  (Matthew) Kreuzer was just terrific.  He was a bit of freak, really, in that he was a very capable ruckman, but also contributed around the ground.  His endurance, his running capabilities, were fantastic, and he was able to win possessions as a ruckman and actually impact the game.  But I was always keen on Trent (Cotchin) because I felt that his natural talent was unsurpassed.”

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The Trent turning point
“I actually remember a kind of watershed moment in that decision (to go with Cotchin over Kreuzer) was a trial game that (Vic) Metro were playing at Victoria Park.  It was a wet day, and I remember thinking the way Trent played that day, was as if a space ship had dropped him in the middle of the ground because his ball skills, and ability to think his way through traffic, were just outstanding in difficult conditions.  He never, ever fumbled, he had fantastic awareness, and he made the most of every possession he had.”

Cotchin shows his character
“His carnival that year, he got tagged against WA in Perth by Patrick McGinnity, who towelled him up.  Trent had a really disappointing game for a player with such a high profile.  But you rest assured that he would bounce back the next week, which was against South Australia, in a deluge in Melbourne.  Trent was outstanding.  He showed his true character, fighting back from an ordinary game the week before in Perth.” 

Tiger draft recall:  Jack Riewoldt

Carlton chooses Kreuzer
“The pick one was up for grabs right to the end. It was only found out that Carlton had committed to Kreuzer because the two dads – Matthew Kreuzer’s dad, Frank, and Trent’s dad, Peter – were best friends . . . Frank told Peter that Carlton had committed to Matthew, which enabled us to pick Trent.  But if we’d had pick one, we would have picked Trent.”

Cotchin the leader
“I went on the AIS trip that year, which was to South Africa . . . Clearly, from that trip, I saw significant leadership qualities in Trent.  And, also, from talking to some of his teachers at PEGS, he had quite a few leadership qualities that were evident very early on.”

The final word
“It just goes to show that it’s a significant step up to play AFL footy.  Trent actually had a serious ankle injury in the finals of that 2007 year, and then he had the Achilles.  He had a number of interruptions early (in his AFL career), which didn’t enable him to complete a full pre-season.  He was never a great endurance runner, but was, nonetheless, capable.  So, it certainly did hinder his progress early on.  He missed seven or eight games in that first season (2008), but slowly worked his way to be a star of the competition that he is today.”