Talented Tiger tall Mabior Chol seized the opportunity and produced the breakout performance of his AFL career in last night’s blockbuster Dreamtime in Perth clash with Essendon at Optus Stadium.
Chol, who was given the responsibility of Richmond’s No. 1 ruck mantle, due to the absence of the Club’s triple premiership ruckman Toby Nankervis through injury, played a vital role in the Tigers’ 39-point win.
The 24-year-old, playing his 23rd game at senior league level, started the match brilliantly with eight disposals in the first quarter and four intercept marks.
He finished with an AFL career-high 19 disposals, a career-high 10 contested possessions, a career-high six inside-50s, career-high nine intercepts, career-high 19 hit-outs, career-high 338 metres gained and took six marks (two of them contested grabs).
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick commended Chol’s efforts on the night in his post-match press conference.
“He rose to the challenge, ‘Marbs’, he was really impressive,” Hardwick said.
“He’s a guy that’s learning the rigours of AFL (football) . . . He’s been in our system for a fair amount of time, but when you’re asked to play the No. 1 ruck role, it’s a very, very challenging role . . .
“He’ll get used to playing that role a little bit more, obviously, with Toby (Nankervis) missing maybe a couple more (games).
“It gives him an opportunity to grow into the role and grow into the game . . .
“I thought he and ‘CJ’ (Callum Coleman-Jones) were pretty proficient in their tasks tonight and really rewarded the team with their efforts.
“We were pretty pleased with both those guys.”