2021 AFL Draft review: Richmond

WITH the 2021 AFL Draft done and dusted, Rookie Me Central takes a look through each clubs’ hauls to assess the areas they bolstered and what each fresh face promises to bring to their new side. Next under the microscope is Richmond, which stuck to a clear theme with its selections after nabbing a top-end tall in round one.

National Draft selections:

#9 Josh Gibcus (GWV Rebels/Vic Country)
#17 Tom Brown (Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country)
#28 Tyler Sonsie (Eastern Ranges/Vic Metro)
#29 Sam Banks (Tasmania Devils/Tasmania)
#30 Judson Clarke (Dandenong Stingrays/Vic Country)

Rookie Draft selections:

Bigoa Nyuon (re-listed)

Richmond came into this year’s draft with five top-30 picks and used all of them to end up with a fittingly themed haul. After Josh Gibcus fell right into the Tigers’ lap, their four picks thereafter suited their style well. Gibcus, regarded as the best key defender in the draft, was courted for top five honours but slid down the order and offers exciting defensive coverage in the long-term with his athleticism and intercept marking ability.

Tom Brown made it two defenders from two in round one at pick 17. The Murray Bushrangers product is a medium type who plays above his size in a marking sense, but also breaks the lines with his pace in transition. His father, Paul, played 84 games for Geelong, seeing Tom fall just short of father-son eligibility for the Cats.

Night two started with a bang for Richmond, and ended quickly with three consecutive picks. Tigers fan Tyler Sonsie, one of the steals of the night, was first off the board at pick 28 and adds some class to his new side’s midfield. His stoppage exit craft is top notch and he uses the ball beautifully on both sides, while also proving a constant goal threat. Injury, and an overall lack of football worked against him this year.

Sam Banks was the lone Tasmanian taken in the National Draft, and lands at Punt Road having endured similar roadblocks to Sonsie. He was the Division 2 Under 16 MVP in 2019 and made his NAB League debut in the same year, showcasing his rebound running ability, sharp kicking, and scope for midfield minutes throughout the pathway.

Rounding out the Tigers’ crop is Judson Clarke, another player with speed and running power to suit Richmond’s style. His surge mentality and slippery nature as a midfielder-forward make him hard to contain, and the Dandenong Stingrays graduate is a punishing finisher to boot.

Developing big man Bigoa Nyuon was also re-listed via the Rookie Draft on Friday, while Noah Cumberland and Rhyan Mansell earned spots on the senior list. Overall, the Tigers filled out gaps on each line and brought in plenty of running power, along with a heap of kicking prowess to go with the tall which headlined their crop.

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