Thomson Dow and Christian Petracca during Richmond's match simulation against Melbourne on February 18, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THOMSON Dow knows this is his chance to stake a spot in Richmond's best 23.

The 22-year-old finished last year on a high, playing the last three games of the season in the seniors, culminating in a 27-disposal game against Port Adelaide.

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The retirement of Trent Cotchin has opened a midfield role, and a strong pre-season means he's ready to come into his own.

"I definitely took some confidence from the end of last season. I think it was maybe three games towards the end of the season, which was good to get that run in," Dow told

"I feel like it did set me up for the pre-season that's just been, in confidence more than anything, and the belief I can challenge at the highest level. Hopefully the ball keeps rolling.

"I think it's something everyone battles with at different stages, even the best in the game. Having star players around me, of the likes of Tim Taranto and Dustin [Martin] – having those guys around to support and instil confidence as well is important, because we all go through it."


Once match simulation kicked off in late January, the word from Punt Road suggested there were two clear standouts over summer – small forward Rhyan Mansell (who will miss the first few games with an ankle injury) and Dow.

"Over the pre-season, I've definitely worked closely with [ex-North Melbourne star Jack] Ziebell and Chris Newman. Ziebell's come in as the stoppage coach, which is one of my strengths, so I've obviously worked pretty closely with him in trying to grow my game even more and using it as a real weapon," Dow said.

"We've got players like Tim, as I mentioned earlier, where contest is also is a big part of his game, so leaning on players like him is really beneficial to me as well."

Dow was a talented junior and was selected with pick No.21 in 2019, with the likes of Sam De Koning, Deven Robertson and Dylan Williams drafted in the immediate picks around him.

Thomson Dow after being drafted by Richmond at pick No.21 in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

It didn't translate into a dream beginning to his career, having played 17 games over four years, but he's come a long way in the past 12 months.

"I recognise that it's important to grab your career with two hands. So much changes in a year, and even if I look back to me last year, I wasn't even in contention for round one, due to different reasons," he said.

"It's important to take control of that and go in with so much confidence, because everyone's on the list because they're capable of change. Making sure I believe that too."

Thomson Dow in action during the match between St Kilda and Richmond at Marvel Stadium in round 22, 2023. Picture:/Getty Images

The life of an AFL player on the fringe of the best side can be tenuous, with Dow offered a one-year contract in September last year.

He's currently studying a business degree with a major in sports management, ticking away on the backburner just in case.

"You can look at it [a one-year deal] in many different ways. Any year, I suppose, can be a carrot," Dow said.

"Everyone's always striving to get that next contract, but you can't really look at it like that because that's looking pretty far forward. 

"I don't try and think about that too much, I think week-to-week is the best way to go about it for me."