Richmond's New Additions
Richmond clearly enhanced its multicultural reputation in this week’s pre-season and rookie drafts.
The Tigers’ draft selections have a diverse international flavour, with Piva Wright (Samoan), Ben Darrou (Moroccan), Gibson Turner (Indigenous), Addam Maric (Croatian), John Heslin (Irish), Brett O’Hanlon (Irish), and Steven Verrier (French), joining the likes of Ivan Maric (Croatian), Dustin Martin (Maori), Bachar Houli (Lebanese), Robbie Nahas (Lebanese), Reece Conca (Italian), Brett Deledio (Italian), Tom Derickx (Dutch), Shane Edwards (Indigenous), Jack Riewoldt (German), Brad Helbig (German), Luke McGuane and Dean MacDonald (Scottish).
Of course, you might have to delve a little way back into the respective family trees of some of these players to establish their international roots, but the fact remains that Tigerland now has its own footballing version of the United Nations.
Sting in the Tiger’s tail
TAC Cup team Dandenong Stingrays has become a fertile hunting ground for Richmond over the past couple of years . . .
Jake Batchelor, one of two Tiger AFL Rising Star nominees this year, was drafted to the Club from the Stingrays in 2010.
In this year’s National Draft, Todd Elton arrived at Tigerland via the Dandenong Stingrays’ route.
Then, in this week’s pre-season and rookie drafts, Stingrays’ pair Brett O’Hanlon and Piva Wright were taken by the Tigers.
Richmond captain Chris Newman is a pioneer in terms of the Tigers-Stingrays association, having been drafted to Punt Road from the TAC Cup team in 2000.
Although the Tigers have now united the two Marics under the one roof - Ivan (from Adelaide) via the trade period at the end of the 2011 season, and Addam (from Melbourne) via this week’s rookie draft - the pair are not related.
In fact, their surnames are pronounced differently, with Ivan’s Maric being sounded as Maritch, and Addam’s as Marick.
Verrier follows Rioli’s path
Steven Verrier lands at Richmond 30 years after another pretty handy player from South Fremantle entered the Tigers’ den.
That player, of course, was Maurice Rioli, who went on to have a huge instant impact at Tigerland in 1982, winning the Norm Smith Medal for best-on-ground in Richmond’s Grand Final loss to Carlton, and the Jack Dyer Medal.
Rioli made it back-to-back Best and Fairests in 1983, and also finished runner-up in that year’s Brownlow Medal.
All-up, Rioli played 118 games and kicked 80 goals for Richmond from 1982-87, dazzling the Tiger faithful with his on-field brilliance.
Verrier is a vastly different type of player to Rioli, but the Tiger talent scouts are quietly confident he can, in time, develop into a valuable member of the Club’s playing group.
He’s already come a fair way in a relatively short time, rising through the ranks at South Fremantle in 2011, to grab a late-season senior berth.
A couple of other South Fremantle players - Bruce Monteath and Darren Gaspar - also turned out to be top performers at Richmond.
Monteath captained the Tigers’ last premiership side, in 1980, while Gaspar was a 200-gamer and Jack Dyer Medal winner.
Attention hungry Tigers
Tiger fans with a taste for Moroccan cuisine, will be able to enjoy some fine food and footy discussion at Safi’s Restaurant in Martin Street, Gardenvale . . . Safi’s is owned and run by the proud parents of new Tiger Ben Darrou.
Piva’s strong sibling support
Piva Wright will have plenty of support if he makes the transition from rookie list to senior list and runs out for his first game with Richmond . . .
Wright has a total of eight brothers and sisters, with the likeable 18-year-old slotting in as the fourth oldest.
O’ what a feeling
Brett O’Hanlon becomes the 17th player in Richmond’s history whose surname starts with an O’.
He joins the likes of Frank O’Brien (23 games, 1926-28), Maurice O’Connell (34 games, 1937 & 1939-41), Steve O’Dwyer (5 games, 1992), Tom O’Halloran (142 games, 1925-34), Jack O’Rourke (44 games, 1949-53), Laurie O’Toole (13 games, 1959-60) and Jamie O’Reilly (4 games, 2010-11).