In the fourth of a special series leading into the 2014 National Draft, Richmond’s Recruiting Manager Francis Jackson provides a fascinating insight into the 2010 drafting of talented, young midfielder Reece Conca.

Hooked on Reece
“Typically, you’ll get a host of different views on players in drafts.  Some clubs might rate particular players, and then other clubs, perhaps, not so strongly.  We followed Reece really closely and felt that he was a very capable player.  He had all of the attributes that we value highly. We watched him play over there (WA) in colts footy and he had numerous 30-possession games.  He moved up to play senior footy for Perth later on in the year and was terrific.  He competed really well, had high possessions, and was a really good ball-user.  We saw Reece as being very talented.  His ability to play senior footy, later on in the year for Perth, was really impressive.  He competed well, had fantastic movement, and really good evasive skills.

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On the Conca trail
“We would have seen just about every game he played.  Amongst our recruiting team, we have two part-timers in Perth that would attend those games and write reports.  We also got the vision of his performance every week, which we cut up and coded ourselves . . .”

Placating the family
“While every pick is a big decision, it was really important that the family felt comfortable about moving Reece over to Melbourne – particularly as they were a very close family . . . I actually flew over to Perth before the Thursday draft, on the Tuesday, and met Reece and him mum and dad – Gina and Louie – fantastic people – at their restaurant, which is just out of Perth a little bit.  We had a good chat.  I just felt it was important to start a really strong relationship with the Concas, and for them to have a sense of attachment to the Club, as parents, which they do.”

All quiet on the Western front
“We knew West Coast had an interest, and they’re generally prone to choose the local boys.  But we weren’t quite sure, so we did actually try to keep that as relatively quiet as we could, until those couple of days before the draft, which we managed to do . . .”

The final word
“He adapted quite well, and started well in his first year (at Richmond).  He’s had a number of injuries along the way, and not being able to have a full pre-season does harm your ability to be able to play consistent footy for the whole year.  I think Reece has got significant improvement in him . . . He’s lacked a bit of continuity in his footy, and we look forward to him having a really strong pre-season, which will enable him to play some more consistent footy.  I think he’s really talented, and he’s shown that early on in his career . . . perhaps has had a few inconsistent patches, but we think he’s highly capable.  We look forward to him playing some exciting footy in the years to come.”

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