Mabior Chol had a small taste of AFL football in 2016, making his senior debut with Richmond in the final home-and-away round of the season. The talented, tall, 20-year-old now has an insatiable appetite for more appearances at senior league level in 2017, and is doing everything in his power to make that happen, as he told ‘Roar Vision’ in this exclusive interview . . .

Preparing for season 2017
“Pre-season’s been really good so far . . . The coaches have been really happy with the way I’m going about my footy. I remember last year, this time, where I was still fresh and didn’t know what to do, really. My biggest focus this year, so far, has been trying to put on some body size and trying to understand the game better. ‘Burgey’ (the Club’s Physical Performance Manager Peter Burge) has been helping me, especially with my endurance and running ability . . . trying to last in the game longer.”

Areas of improvement
“I’m just trying to impact the contest more . . . trying to be stronger at the contest and bring the ball to the ground, instead of getting outmarked. And I’m trying to play more to my strengths as well, and back myself . . . My biggest strength is jumping for the ball, and my second and third efforts following up. I think my contested marking’s really improved since last year, and my ability to stay in the contest. I’m working really closely this year with ‘Fly’ (VFL and development coach Craig McRae) and ‘Leppa’ (assistant coach Justin Lepptisch) as well. He’s been very handy coming in to the Club.”

Development at AFL level
“I think it’s been really good so far. I’m feeling much stronger when I’m out there, and understanding the game a bit better. I’ve still got a long way to go with my development, but I’ll just keep working hard on it.”

Moving forward
“Last year in the VFL, I played mostly down back, but this pre-season I’ve been playing up forward. It’s always good to kick goals . . . it’s something I really enjoy doing a lot. We’ve got a very young forward line, but we’ve also got Jack down here, someone with really good experience, and really handy as well.”

Striving to take the next step
“’Dimma’ (senior coach Damien Hardwick) has been telling me I’m not too far away. It’s just the little things that I have to get right. With my training standard, I’m trying to take it to another level . . . training like an AFL player every day. That’s something I’ve been working on. And, just the ability to stay in the game as well . . . not wander off.”

Aspirations for 2017
“My goal is try and play some pre-season games. That will lead me into the season, where, hopefully, I can get a few AFL games under my belt. I’ve been hearing a lot that it takes time for ‘talls’ to develop. But I want to push myself and not wait another two years to start playing (regular) AFL footy. I want to play AFL footy as soon as possible. Whatever it takes, to do with lifting my training, I’m willing to do that.”