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Mature recruits to boost Tigers: Newman

Callum Twomey  January 14, 2013 11:06 AM

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Orren Stephenson at Richmond training

RICHMOND is confident its batch of mature-aged recruits can push it to a finals berth, hoping extra maturity and experience will give it a significant boost.  

The Tigers secured a raft of recycled players through last year's trade, free agency and draft periods, including Troy Chaplin (Port Adelaide), Chris Knights (Adelaide), Aaron Edwards (North Melbourne), Ricky Petterd (Melbourne), Sam Lonergan (Essendon) and Orren Stephenson (Geelong).

Former captain Chris Newman, who is yet to play a final in 11 seasons at the club, said the group of new Tigers had already made an impression.

"I think it's definitely going to assist our cause. That's probably the reason behind it, that maturity factor," Newman said on Monday.

"I think those guys provide not only their on-field characteristics but their off-field [traits] too. If we can get more maturity on the ground it will certainly go a long way to us playing finals footy."

Although Lonergan, Petterd and Stephenson are rookies, Newman expects all of the additions to be pressing for senior selection throughout the season.  

"All of them have been outstanding in the way they've fitted in," he said.

"That's a good position we're in [because] those guys will be fighting for spots to wear the Richmond jumper in round one.

"They're all proven players and you know what you're going to get with these players. They're relatively young so they still have a lot of improvement left in them."

At the other end of the scale Nick Vlastuin, the club's first-round selection at last year's NAB AFL Draft, has started his Richmond career strongly.

Newman expects Vlastuin, who was selected with pick nine, to play in the NAB Cup, and wouldn't discount him having the same impact in his first year as Brandon Ellis in 2012.

Ellis played 21 games in his debut season and established himself in the Tigers' back half.

"He's certainly a very, very hard player. Him and Steve Morris have had a couple of stoushes out on the ground, which is great. They play in a similar fashion," Newman said.

"We're hoping he develops into a player who can get a regular game. He knows he's got a little bit to go in terms of his development but he's doing all the right things so far."

Follow Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey.