Skillful defender Derek Eggmolesse-Smith will return to Richmond’s list for the 2021 season, with the Club lodging paperwork to sign the 22-year-old today.
After being delisted by the Club in November, Eggmolesse-Smith was invited back in January as a train-on player as part of the AFL’s pre-season supplemental selection period, which ended today.
Eggmolesse-Smith, who worked with fitness and sprint coaches over the off-season, said that returning to the Club “stronger and fitter” helped his chances of earning a fresh contract.
“My main focus has been endurance; all the coaches know I have got my speed and pace, but just building that fitness base and getting stronger in the gym has helped me heaps,” he said.
“Having a spot on the list for 2021 is very special, especially (after) last year and going through a lot with the hub and Covid and knowing that I was out of contract.
“Richmond gave me a chance to work hard and get another contract, and I am hoping that this year will be better than the one before."
Eggmolesse-Smith played a part in last Friday night’s AAMI Community Series win over Collingwood, gathering eight disposals from 31 percent game time.
"It was a waiting game for me, but I was excited to get the call-up, and I had a lot of fun. I can't wait for many more games in 2021,” he said.
The former Next Generation Academy selection played six AFL games last season after managing two in 2019 and zero in 2018.
???? A message from Eggy. pic.twitter.com/a8eJ1TqFlR— Richmond FC ???? (@Richmond_FC) March 9, 2021
Richmond General Manager- Football Talent Blair Hartley said Eggmolesse-Smith thoroughly deserved his place on the list.
“Derek has worked extremely hard over this off-season and made some improvements to his overall game,” he added.
“What he has been able to achieve in a short amount of time is a credit to him, and we are looking forward to seeing what he can do for us this year and beyond.”
Eggmolesse-Smith’s signing, along with Rhyan Mansell’s last month, completes the Club’s playing list for 2021, having initially left two vacant spots.