TIMING is everything in football, just ask the 19-year-old who will play game No.5 when he represents Richmond in Saturday's Grand Final.

Tiger tyro Jack Graham won't quite match the feat of Aaron Keating, who had two games under his belt when he helped Adelaide win the 1997 flag.

But Graham will soon have played more AFL finals than regular-season matches, having made his debut in round 22.

It is a rare scenario that must fill Bernie Quinlan and Brad Johnson with immense envy.

Quinlan played 366 games for Footscray and Fitzroy - none of them were a Grand Final.

Johnson featured in 364 matches for the Bulldogs - none of them were a Grand Final.

"Everyone's been saying that to me, people have gone 300 games without playing a final," Graham told reporters on Friday.

What time does the 2017 AFL Grand Final start?

"I've got to pinch myself a bit.

"I'm very lucky but a lot of hard work has gone into that as well."

Fortune has favoured the busted in this feel-good story.

Graham, a South Australia under-18 captain and an ardent Adelaide supporter, was overlooked by every club in the league before the Tigers pounced with pick No.53 in last year's draft.

A serious calf injury ruined Graham's hopes of impressing at the draft combine.

A hamstring tendon problem derailed his first pre-season with Richmond then a broken ankle meant his VFL debut only arrived in round 13.

Graham never rushed things, as per coach Damien Hardwick's advice.

"Dimma said 'mate you've got plenty of years ahead of you, stuff happens, just make sure you get that body right and we'll go from there'," the teenager recalled.

"It was a bit of a tough ride for the first six months ... after a couple of consistent VFL games, Dimma told me (a month ago) I'd debut.

"I thought 'oh yeah, not bad timing'.

"I just had to do the hard work, play my role and that's how I'd maintain my spot."