List Mgmt. Draft rewind: The inside story of Richmond’s remarkable 2016 off-season

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THE THIN MAN

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In 2016, Richmond threw everything at Suns onballer Dion Prestia, including a bold promise that paid off more than the Tigers could have hoped.

Francis Jackson was apprehensive as he took his seat in the viewing room at Punt Rd Oval.

The AFL had at least ensured Richmond‘s recruiting officer didn’t have to travel far to watch the inaugural under-18 All-Stars game which was bringing together the best national draft prospects for an exhibition game.

To help promote the game two AFL legends - Chris Judd and Michael O‘Loughlin - had been brought in with the players divided into Team Judd and Team O’Loughlin.

It was Grand Final Eve so Melbourne was buzzing particularly with the fairytale story of the Western Bulldogs making the 2016 GF against Sydney.

But Jackson wasn‘t doing handstands over the concept because there was a skinny kid from Western Australian playing for Team Judd who he’d been following closely all season.

He‘d seen Shai Bolton do some incredible things over the past 12 months but he was an immature kid who’d struggled for consistency.

Many had labelled him a flight risk, wondering whether he would cope with being brought over the other side of the country.

Jackson understood all of these concerns but he knew Bolton had something special, the problem was he didn‘t want him reminding others of his unique talent.

“Sometimes you go to these games and you hope they don‘t play well because you’ve pretty much seen enough already and you hope everyone else hasn’t seen enough,” he says.

Jackson‘s greatest fears were realised with Bolton burning a path up and down the Punt Rd wing, collecting 16 disposals, including seven inside 50s, to feature prominently in Team Judd’s best players.

He‘d put a flashing light on his head and Jackson knew his job had just got a whole lot tougher.

OPERATION: PRESTIA

“It’s going to be a big off-season for us.”

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick was doing his best to spin a horrible end to a horrible season.

He‘d just watched the youngest side he’d put on the park for a long time lose the final game of the 2016 season by 113 points to Sydney at the SCG.

It was the Tigers 14th loss and they‘d slumped to 13th on the ladder - Richmond had played finals the previous three seasons - which was the lowest they’d finished since Hardwick’s first year in the job in 2010.

“We‘ve got to improve our list, improve our talent, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

That plan was already well down the track. The Tigers had their hooks into one big fish on the Gold Coast and another in Sydney.

Recruiters often have soft spots for certain players who, if they don‘t end up with their clubs, they then keep a watchful eye on in case there is potential for their paths to cross down the track.

Francis Jackson remembers coming away from a home visit with Dion Prestia in 2010 gushing.

“We loved his character and his family background was terrific,” Jackson explains. ”Recruiters don‘t forget, we don’t ever forget.

“We do our rankings and we kind of stick with them a fair bit so if for injury or some other reason they don‘t perform at the start, they’re always there.”

The Tigers debated the Calder Cannons ball magnet long and hard back in 2010 before electing to take West Australian Reece Conca at No.6 with Prestia heading to the Gold Coast at No.9.

It was no surprise to Jackson that Prestia had become one of the Suns best midfielders but injuries had slowed him down over the past couple of seasons - he only played eight games in 2015 and 14 in 2016.

For the past 12 months the Tigers had been politely inquiring about his status with Prestia‘s management. Finally, by midway through the year they’d got the heads-up that he was keen to return home to Victoria.

As rumours of board challenges swirled Punt Rd, Richmond pulled out the big guns to woo Prestia with chief executive Brendon Gale and football boss Dan Richardson meeting with him to sell the club‘s future.

Part of that discussion involved an assurance that Hardick would keep his job while the sugar on top was a lucrative five-year deal.

Prestia, 24, had spoken to three other clubs but felt drawn to the Tigers and even before the season had finished - he was already back in Melbourne after a knee injury finished his year in Round 16 - he informed the Suns that he wanted to wear the yellow and black.

As it turned out that had been the easy part with negotiations dragging on until the second last day of the trade period before finally Richmond had their man after they sent pick No.7 and their future second-round pick to the Suns in exchange for Prestia and pick No.24.

AND THE UNEXPECTED BONUS

While the talks had moved slowly an unexpected bonus from left field had presented itself for the Tigers.

Josh Caddy had played with Prestia at the Suns - he‘d gone at No.7 in the 2010 draft - and the pair were good mates.

He’d since moved to Geelong where he’d played the past four years, but despite signing a new deal, the word on the street had the Cats under salary cap pressure following the recruitment of Adelaide star Patrick Dangerfield the previous year.

Someone had to fall out of Kardinia Park.

Neil Balme had just agreed to move over to Punt Rd as football boss from Collingwood but he‘d been at Geelong during Caddy’s first couple of years.

He was asked his thoughts and gave the green light. Prestia had already been on the phone doing the hard sell for his new club and in the final few hours of the trade week the two good mates were reunited again.

Caddy and Geelong‘s third-round selection, No.56, had come to Richmond in exchange for picks 26 and 60.

But the Tigers weren‘t finished. They needed a ruckman and had zeroed in on Toby Nankervis who was in and out of Sydney’s all-conquering line-up.

He‘d played in the Swans semi-final win over Adelaide but had missed out on the Grand Final, playing 12 games in two years in Sydney.

Jackson had always been a fan of Nankervis‘ character which was “top of the tree” when he’d looked at him back while he was playing seniors for North Launceston as a teenager.

He was overlooked in the 2012 draft and was taken at pick 35 by the Swans a year later.

“We went back to our database and checked our notes on him from his 18s year and he just worked hard,” Jackson explains.

“He also showed he could go forward and kick a goal but again it was about his character.”

Nankervis, 22, became a Tiger for pick No.45.

In the space of 10 days in early October, Hardwick had got the talent injection he was craving.

THE FINAL PIECES

The trade bounty had been a major success but the one drawback was the hand Francis Jackson had been dealt as he sat down inside Sydney‘s Hordern Pavilion for the 2016 National Draft.

All the wheeling and dealing meant he only had two picks at his disposal - No. 29 and 53 - which created the Shai Bolton dilemma.

After the trade bonanza the Tigers had also filled up another spot with the elevation of rookie Jayden Short to the senior list.

He‘d come to Punt Rd alongwith his Northern Knights teammate Jason Castagna in the 2014 rookie draft.

“Sometimes players are at different stages of their development clocks,” Jackson said. ”He (Short) was a capable, albeit skinny kid from the Knights who was a fabulous kick of the footy.”

Short had flourished in 2016, kicking three goals on debut against Collingwood before finding a niche in the backline, playing 16 games for the season.

Jackson had been at the caper for a decade - he drafted Jack Riewoldt and Shane Edwards in his first draft - so he knew all about controlling expectations and emotions.

Sometimes all you can do is sit back with your fingers crossed. There was a tinge of relief in Bolton-watch when Fremantle and West Coast looked elsewhere in the first round.

Although there was a shift in the seat when the Western Bulldogs took Bolton‘s South Fremantle teammate Tim English.

The Dogs also had pick No.28 which had the Tigers hierarchy asking the question - would you take two players from the same West Australian club?

Thankfully they didn‘t, instead reading out Northern Knights midfielder Patrick Lipinski’s name which paved the way for Jackson to get his man.

The thing about the draft night is it moves quickly and while there was a sense of satisfaction about landing Bolton, the focus quickly turned back to the player rankings list.

Jackson had been ticking off all of the players who had been taken so far, but as proceedings moved into the third round he was pleasantly surprised to see a name yet to be crossed off.

Jack Graham had won the Larke Medal for the best player at the under-18 national championships. The captain of South Australia had stood out and averaged 25 possessions, six clearances, five tackles and three marks over the carnival.

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“I was crossing off blokes as they got picked and then for him (Graham) to be there given his character was amazing really,” Jackson said.

“He had a few flaws, particularly his disposal which wasn‘t what it should have been but his character was just outstanding and he had a great work ethic.

“The coach loves two-way runners and he fitted that bill exceptionally well because of his defensive attributes.”

Jackson figured Graham could fall somewhere near the Tigers two picks and therefore had attended his pre-draft medical screening.

“He had a late medical test because he had a stress-related running injury,” Jackson said.

“I remember saying to him because he was training his arse off, he‘d just come back from injury and I said: ‘Jack pull back, you’ve got plenty of time to get that right’.

“But that was the type of kid he was, he was always pushing and always working hard.

“The thing is character can take you a long way in this game, if you‘ve got other flaws that you’re prepared to work on then it can work out.”

Clearly the South Australian clubs had steered away from Graham with Adelaide and Port having seven picks before the draft ticked over to No.53 where Jackson gleefully pounced.

Within 12 months Graham was a premiership player.

Three years later he won his second one which took Richmond‘s 2016 off-season haul to an extraordinary 14 premiership medallions.

 

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GoTigers2015

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In 2016 we also traded Brett Deledio to GWS for Geelong's 2017 1st round pick (15) and GWS 2017 3rd round pick (52).

We traded these picks to Brisbane for picks 20 (CCJ) and picks 25 (Balta).

So far the 2016 trade period and draft has produced 13 flags.

Prestia 🏆🏆🏆
Caddy 🏆🏆
Nank 🏆🏆🏆
Bolton 🏆🏆
Graham 🏆🏆
Balta 🏆
 

BF Tiger

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If you haven’t yet then go to Bay 13 and find the Dion Prestia is dumb as dogs**t thread (or something like that). It’s a great comedy thread.
 

Football Tragic

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Just shows you that when things are at their bleakest you need to be at your strongest. We could have easily thrown the baby out with the bath water in 2016 - sack the coach, get rid of players for picks and bring in a new board. Instead we kept what we knew worked and tweaked what we knew didn't.

Not only did we make smart decisions with our recruiting, we made it with the coaches we hired too. We have stuck with a simple set of rules when bringing in people to our club - 1)Strong Characters (positive/leaders/team players), 2) Competitive (fight to succeed) & Tough(ball winners/tacklers/fighters).
These are our fundamental attributes. While we love speed, skill, raw talent and good users too, those three attributes are crucial.

This is why we recruit players like Lambert, Baker, Short, Grimes, Aarts, Broad, Graham, Nankervis, Ross and Balta. They are determined to succeed and place their team-mates over themselves to achieve that.

Bolton will be an absolute star but its the likes of Graham, Prestia and Nank that grind you out flags.

Never thought I ever say this a few years past but its great to be a Tiger Supporter! :richmond::thumbsupv1:
 

roacheee

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In 2016 we also traded Brett Deledio to GWS for Geelong's 2017 1st round pick (15) and GWS 2017 3rd round pick (52).

We traded these picks to Brisbane for picks 20 (CCJ) and picks 25 (Balta).

So far the 2016 trade period and draft has produced 13 flags.

Prestia 🏆🏆🏆
Caddy 🏆🏆
Nank 🏆🏆🏆
Bolton 🏆🏆
Graham 🏆🏆
Balta 🏆
add shorty in mate
 

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Meteoric Rise

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Had an interesting convo with a mate who goes for the Blues today after reading the Bargain-Basement feature on Liam Baker on our site. It shows just how good our drafting has been.

Me: Liam Baker was available to be drafted from 2016 onwards and when you look at his highlights package and it is incredible he was overlooked for so long.

Blues mate: There are always stories like this.

Me: Well let me give you a list of all the players the Blues traded in and drafted whilst overlooking Liam Baker:

petrevski-seton, fisher, macreadie, polson, williamson, kerr, lebois, alex silvagni, gallucci, sheehan, smedts, pickett, marchbank, palmer, lobbe, kennedy, lang, dow, o’brien, de koning, schumacher, garlett, matt shaw

How do you overlook Liam Baker through that list of 23 inferior players(so far) and almost all of whom are complete spuds?

Blues mate: Well Richmond overlooked him too, so you are just as bad….

Me: Well, let’s see the list of who we took in preference…..in 2016 and 2017 before we grabbed Baker at pick 17 in the 2017 Rookie Draft.

2016 Prestia, Caddy, Nankervis, Graham, Garthwaite, Stengle
2017 Higgins, Coleman-Jones, Balta, Naish, Miller…..and then Baker.

The three traded in have been enormous, Graham, Stengle, Balta and Baker are already first team regulars. Higgins will be a regular at Saints. Miller and Garthwaite are obviously attempts to fill different needs, And Naish we got as a discount as a father/son and it would have been wrong not to take him. He may or may not yet turn out.

You give Carlton that type of drafting and recruiting from 2016, they would be good right now. Instead they spent a load of picks and trades on about 20 spuds, most who are already delisted, many who were one or two time losers already. You swap our list for theirs above since 2016 and we would be facing a serious cliff edge.

From 12 players brought into our club in those two off seasons, we look like having at least 9 long term AFL quality players.

From 23 players the Blues introduced through their revolving door, they look like getting 5 max. And they had the far superior array of picks.

You shake your head and wonder how on earth the Blues could pull inso much junk from all over the place and overlook someone as obviously good as Baker. Head scratcher. They took Dow and O’Brien with picks 3 and 10 and neither look like being near as good as him.
 
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THE THIN MAN

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Had an interesting convo with a mate who goes for the Blues today after reading the Bargain-Basement feature on Liam Baker on our site. It shows just how good our drafting has been.

Me: Liam Baker was available to be drafted from 2016 onwards and when you look at his highlights package and it is incredible he was overlooked for so long.

Blues mate: There are always stories like this.

Me: Well let me give you a list of all the players the Blues traded in and drafted whilst overlooking Liam Baker:

petrevski-seton, fisher, macreadie, polson, williamson, kerr, lebois, alex silvagni, gallucci, sheehan, smedts, pickett, marchbank, palmer, lobbe, kennedy, lang, dow, o’brien, de koning, schumacher, garlett, matt shaw

How do you overlook Liam Baker through that list of 23 inferior players(so far) and almost all of whom are complete spuds?

Blues mate: Well Richmond overlooked him too, so you are just as bad….

Me: Well, let’s see the list of who we took in preference…..in 2016 and 2017 before we grabbed Baker at pick 17 in the 2017 Rookie Draft.

2016 Prestia, Caddy, Nankervis, Graham, Garthwaite, Stengle
2017 Higgins, Coleman-Jones, Balta, Naish, Miller…..and then Baker.

The three traded in have been enormous, Graham, Stengle, Balta and Baker are already first team regulars. Higgins will be a regular at Saints. Miller and Garthwaite are obviously attempts to fill different needs, And Naish we got as a discount as a father/son and it would have been wrong not to take him. He may or may not yet turn out.

You give Carlton that type of drafting and recruiting from 2016, they would be good right now. Instead they spent a load of picks and trades on about 20 spuds, most who are already delisted, many who were one or two time losers already. You swap our list for theirs above since 2016 and we would be facing a serious cliff edge.

From 12 players brought into our club in those two off seasons, we look like having at least 9 long term AFL quality players.

From 23 players the Blues introduced through their revolving door, they look like getting 5 max. And they had the far superior array of picks.

You shake your head and wonder how on earth the Blues could pull inso much junk from all over the place and overlook someone as obviously good as Baker. Head scratcher. They took Dow and O’Brien with picks 3 and 10 and neither look like being near as good as him.
While I enjoy kicking Carlton supporters especially when they are down, Stengle is very lucky to still be at the crows.

We dodged a massive potential player problem when he went to the Camry Crows!
 

Meteoric Rise

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While I enjoy kicking Carlton supporters especially when they are down, Stengle is very lucky to still be at the crows.

We dodged a massive potential player problem when he went to the Camry Crows!
You are taking most of those spuds Carlton took before Stengle?

I am not in a position to comment authoritatively on his off-field behaviour but he doesn’t seem to have done anything irretrievable. Watching him play for the Crows this season their whole forward line was operating under extreme difficulty and he gave a half decent account of himself averaging 10 disposals(equates to 12 in a normal season) 2 tackles(2.6) 1.5 scoring shots(1.8) in a starvation rations forward line. Those are not too far off Richmond small forward type numerals. So he certainly wasn’t a bad rookie pick in terms of ability.
 

THE THIN MAN

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You are taking most of those spuds Carlton took before Stengle?

I am not in a position to comment authoritatively on his off-field behaviour but he doesn’t seem to have done anything irretrievable. Watching him play for the Crows this season their whole forward line was operating under extreme difficulty and he gave a half decent account of himself averaging 10 disposals(equates to 12 in a normal season) 2 tackles(2.6) 1.5 scoring shots(1.8) in a starvation rations forward line. Those are not too far off Richmond small forward type numerals. So he certainly wasn’t a bad rookie pick in terms of ability.
I would take Caleb Marchbank over Stengle every day of the week.

Considering the amount players they got from GWS, they had to get 1 right!
 

Meteoric Rise

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I would take Caleb Marchbank over Stengle every day of the week.

Considering the amount players they got from GWS, they had to get 1 right!
You would take several of those Carlton picks over Stengle no doubt. But that is well beside the point of my first post. How many of them are you taking over Baker, to whom they brought in 23 players in preference?
 

GoTigers2015

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Had an interesting convo with a mate who goes for the Blues today after reading the Bargain-Basement feature on Liam Baker on our site. It shows just how good our drafting has been.

Me: Liam Baker was available to be drafted from 2016 onwards and when you look at his highlights package and it is incredible he was overlooked for so long.

Blues mate: There are always stories like this.

Me: Well let me give you a list of all the players the Blues traded in and drafted whilst overlooking Liam Baker:

petrevski-seton, fisher, macreadie, polson, williamson, kerr, lebois, alex silvagni, gallucci, sheehan, smedts, pickett, marchbank, palmer, lobbe, kennedy, lang, dow, o’brien, de koning, schumacher, garlett, matt shaw

How do you overlook Liam Baker through that list of 23 inferior players(so far) and almost all of whom are complete spuds?

Blues mate: Well Richmond overlooked him too, so you are just as bad….

Me: Well, let’s see the list of who we took in preference…..in 2016 and 2017 before we grabbed Baker at pick 17 in the 2017 Rookie Draft.

2016 Prestia, Caddy, Nankervis, Graham, Garthwaite, Stengle
2017 Higgins, Coleman-Jones, Balta, Naish, Miller…..and then Baker.

The three traded in have been enormous, Graham, Stengle, Balta and Baker are already first team regulars. Higgins will be a regular at Saints. Miller and Garthwaite are obviously attempts to fill different needs, And Naish we got as a discount as a father/son and it would have been wrong not to take him. He may or may not yet turn out.

You give Carlton that type of drafting and recruiting from 2016, they would be good right now. Instead they spent a load of picks and trades on about 20 spuds, most who are already delisted, many who were one or two time losers already. You swap our list for theirs above since 2016 and we would be facing a serious cliff edge.

From 12 players brought into our club in those two off seasons, we look like having at least 9 long term AFL quality players.

From 23 players the Blues introduced through their revolving door, they look like getting 5 max. And they had the far superior array of picks.

You shake your head and wonder how on earth the Blues could pull inso much junk from all over the place and overlook someone as obviously good as Baker. Head scratcher. They took Dow and O’Brien with picks 3 and 10 and neither look like being near as good as him.
#InSosWeTrust
 

4tune8

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Had an interesting convo with a mate who goes for the Blues today after reading the Bargain-Basement feature on Liam Baker on our site. It shows just how good our drafting has been.

Me: Liam Baker was available to be drafted from 2016 onwards and when you look at his highlights package and it is incredible he was overlooked for so long.

Blues mate: There are always stories like this.

Me: Well let me give you a list of all the players the Blues traded in and drafted whilst overlooking Liam Baker:

petrevski-seton, fisher, macreadie, polson, williamson, kerr, lebois, alex silvagni, gallucci, sheehan, smedts, pickett, marchbank, palmer, lobbe, kennedy, lang, dow, o’brien, de koning, schumacher, garlett, matt shaw

How do you overlook Liam Baker through that list of 23 inferior players(so far) and almost all of whom are complete spuds?

Blues mate: Well Richmond overlooked him too, so you are just as bad….

Me: Well, let’s see the list of who we took in preference…..in 2016 and 2017 before we grabbed Baker at pick 17 in the 2017 Rookie Draft.

2016 Prestia, Caddy, Nankervis, Graham, Garthwaite, Stengle
2017 Higgins, Coleman-Jones, Balta, Naish, Miller…..and then Baker.

The three traded in have been enormous, Graham, Stengle, Balta and Baker are already first team regulars. Higgins will be a regular at Saints. Miller and Garthwaite are obviously attempts to fill different needs, And Naish we got as a discount as a father/son and it would have been wrong not to take him. He may or may not yet turn out.

You give Carlton that type of drafting and recruiting from 2016, they would be good right now. Instead they spent a load of picks and trades on about 20 spuds, most who are already delisted, many who were one or two time losers already. You swap our list for theirs above since 2016 and we would be facing a serious cliff edge.

From 12 players brought into our club in those two off seasons, we look like having at least 9 long term AFL quality players.

From 23 players the Blues introduced through their revolving door, they look like getting 5 max. And they had the far superior array of picks.

You shake your head and wonder how on earth the Blues could pull inso much junk from all over the place and overlook someone as obviously good as Baker. Head scratcher. They took Dow and O’Brien with picks 3 and 10 and neither look like being near as good as him.
Pity SOS wasn't still there.....
 

YeOldTiger

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Had an interesting convo with a mate who goes for the Blues today after reading the Bargain-Basement feature on Liam Baker on our site. It shows just how good our drafting has been.

Me: Liam Baker was available to be drafted from 2016 onwards and when you look at his highlights package and it is incredible he was overlooked for so long.

Blues mate: There are always stories like this.

Me: Well let me give you a list of all the players the Blues traded in and drafted whilst overlooking Liam Baker:

petrevski-seton, fisher, macreadie, polson, williamson, kerr, lebois, alex silvagni, gallucci, sheehan, smedts, pickett, marchbank, palmer, lobbe, kennedy, lang, dow, o’brien, de koning, schumacher, garlett, matt shaw

How do you overlook Liam Baker through that list of 23 inferior players(so far) and almost all of whom are complete spuds?

Blues mate: Well Richmond overlooked him too, so you are just as bad….

Me: Well, let’s see the list of who we took in preference…..in 2016 and 2017 before we grabbed Baker at pick 17 in the 2017 Rookie Draft.

2016 Prestia, Caddy, Nankervis, Graham, Garthwaite, Stengle
2017 Higgins, Coleman-Jones, Balta, Naish, Miller…..and then Baker.

The three traded in have been enormous, Graham, Stengle, Balta and Baker are already first team regulars. Higgins will be a regular at Saints. Miller and Garthwaite are obviously attempts to fill different needs, And Naish we got as a discount as a father/son and it would have been wrong not to take him. He may or may not yet turn out.

You give Carlton that type of drafting and recruiting from 2016, they would be good right now. Instead they spent a load of picks and trades on about 20 spuds, most who are already delisted, many who were one or two time losers already. You swap our list for theirs above since 2016 and we would be facing a serious cliff edge.

From 12 players brought into our club in those two off seasons, we look like having at least 9 long term AFL quality players.

From 23 players the Blues introduced through their revolving door, they look like getting 5 max. And they had the far superior array of picks.

You shake your head and wonder how on earth the Blues could pull inso much junk from all over the place and overlook someone as obviously good as Baker. Head scratcher. They took Dow and O’Brien with picks 3 and 10 and neither look like being near as good as him.
Easy. S.Silvagni.
 

telsor

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Had an interesting convo with a mate who goes for the Blues today after reading the Bargain-Basement feature on Liam Baker on our site. It shows just how good our drafting has been.
If you want to annoy Cartoon supporters, mention Kane Lambert.

Different year to this thread of course, but he played for the Northern Bullants (Carlton 2nds), for 3 years, where he was selected in the VFL rep team several times, came 4th in the Liston Trophy, (1 vote behind the 3 equal winners) along with other honours, and the jokers at Cartoon didn't even notice him. (yes, he left and played a year at Willy before we picked him up, but still...3 years under their noses!)
 

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