Finding the right blend on-field between the present, and the future, is something that is foremost in the minds of the Richmond brains trust.
The Club’s senior adviser, Neil Balme, spoke about the importance of regenerating, while still contending, on this week’s episode of the ‘Talking Tigers’ podcast.
Richmond has selected two young AFL debutants for Friday night’s Round 4 match against Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval – Will Martyn and Rhyan Mansell – to fill in for injured premiership pair Dion Prestia (hamstring) and Kamdyn McIntosh (concussion).
“Interesting, we were talking about it off-season a fair bit . . . it’s the big challenge that we’ve got,” Balme said.
“We have to play a big handful of kids that we want to see, that we haven’t really been able to see.
“How do you do that and still pick your best team every week, etc.?
“That’s the challenge. And, in some ways, getting a couple of injuries is a good catalyst for that.”
Meanwhile, Balme expressed his delight with the recent re-signing of another talented Tiger cub in Noah Balta.
The exciting, tall, athletic 2020 premiership key defender has had his contract at Tigerland extended until the end of the 2023 season.
“You all know what I think of Noah. He’s one of my favourites, so that was lovely,” Balme said.
“That’s a bit of the challenge of the professional game – how do they all (the players) fit (under the salary cap)?
“We’ve got to encourage them, not so much to take less money, but have less thinking about that opportunity, and just the opportunity to stay at the Club.
“It’s terrific that Noah’s chosen to do that and have a crack with us . . . He’ll be good.”
Balme also provided an update on Sydney Stack, who has returned to Punt Road following his Western Australia COVID-19 quarantine breach.
“It’s really lovely to see ‘Stacky’,” Balme said.
“We all know that he’s had his challenges, but we all know that, deep down, he’s a really talented player.
“Let’s hope we can give him some opportunities.
“He needs to do a bit of work on his fitness, obviously, but I don’t think he will be that far off playing.”