Mykelti Lefau in action during Richmond's VFL clash against North Melbourne in round 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

RICHMOND has handed a rookie deal to former rugby league player Mykelti Lefau on the final day of the pre-season supplementary signing period (SSP).

Lefau and WAFL forward Mitch Schofield have trained with the Tigers over summer, with the pair chasing one vacant spot on Richmond's list.

Both took part in Richmond's match simulation against Melbourne on Sunday and the Tigers have landed on Lefau ahead of the SSP deadline on Monday.

Lefau delivered a brutal bump on experienced Demons defender Jake Lever and kicked a handy goal in the fourth term against the Demons on Sunday, with his athleticism and footy instincts on display.


"Certainly his start was pretty dynamic and combative, which we love, and we know that's what he can do," assistant coach Ben Rutten said.

The 23-year-old moved from Auckland to Melbourne in 2012 and spent time in the Melbourne Storm's development program before deciding to focus on Australian Football rather than rugby league.

He played some games for the Casey Demons before the pandemic, then returned to local football level where he played for St Kilda City in the Southern Football League. It was with St Kilda City that he, as a junior, kicked 25 goals in single game in 2016.

He joined Richmond's VFL program ahead of the 2022 season and played six games before suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear that ended his first season with the Tigers. 

Mykelti Lefau in action during Richmond's VFL clash against Southport in 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

But after a long recovery, the 195cm, 96kg utility returned in June and played 11 VFL games to put his career back on track.

"Mykelti has worked hard to put himself in this position, from learning the game as a teenager to coming back from a serious injury last year," Richmond National Recruiting Manager, Matt Clarke said.

"He has not put a foot wrong since he came to our Club and has shown across the past three months that he can blossom in a professional environment.

"We are excited to be adding him to our AFL list."

- with Josh Gabelich