Hard work has paid off for Richmond draftee Noah Cumberland, whose determination propelled him to a breakthrough year and landed him at Tigerland.
At the start of the year, the 18-year-old “decided to have a crack” and do everything in his power to be drafted.
He took his game to the next level with the Brisbane Lions Academy, resulting in a stint of senior football in the NEAFL which included playing in the Lions’ premiership-winning side.
After relishing his opportunities throughout 2019, Cumberland, who was taken by the Tigers with pick 43, conceded he exceeded his expectations this year.
“I did a lot better than I thought I would. I made every team possible in Queensland so that was always an advantage,” he said.
“You have to play your best footy to get selected in those sides and it’s been a very enjoyable year.”
The speedy left-footer is renowned for his tackling pressure and considers his contested ball-winning ability a feature of his game.
“It would be one of my best traits, winning my own ball, and that’s what I (pride) myself on,” he said.
Cumberland is confident his experience playing against bigger bodies in the NEAFL will hold him in good stead throughout his maiden season at Richmond.
“Playing with those boys and that level of footy with grown men, it makes you fit and that’s where you play your best footy,” he said.
With his first week at Tigerland now under his belt, Cumberland described his time so far in the Yellow and Black as “absolutely unreal”.
It was an action-packed opening week for Richmond’s five draftees, who took to the training track with their new teammates and enjoyed a hike in the Grampians with Tigers Jayden Short, Kamdyn McIntosh and Nick Vlastuin.
“(The hike was) really enjoyable, we got to know those three and (they) opened up (on being) a Richmond Man,” Cumberland said.
While relocating interstate can be a daunting task for any 18-year-old, the move has been made easier for Cumberland by the fact he already spent time living in Melbourne when he was younger.
He joins fellow draftee, Lions Academy teammate and good friend Will Martyn at Tigerland.
“I played footy all year with Will…he’s been a massive part of my footy this year so it’s good to have him there and the three other (draftees),” he said.
“They’re all different characters, (so) you can grow a different bond between them all."