YOUNG Tiger Oleg Markov credits his famous pole-vaulting father Dmitri in helping him understand the hard work and dedication required to reach the elite level of football.
Dmitri Markov, a Belarusian and Australian pole vault world champion, was on hand as his 20-year-old son gathered a career-high 26 disposals to play a vital role in Richmond's 15-point win over Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night.
"Dad never pushed me into anything and he was always saying go out, enjoy as many sports as you can – I did tennis, I did gymnastics, I did a whole variety of different sports," Markov told AFL.com.au.
"Dad was always one who wouldn't waste time training me if I wasn't working hard.
"He'd say, 'You can go through the motions and float through but that's just a waste of a training session. You might as well not have gone.' Working hard is something I pride myself on."
Although drafted as a forward, the defender, selected with pick No.50 in last year's NAB AFL Draft, displayed some of his father's trademark spring as he hauled in 12 marks, while also showing a preparedness to be bold and take the game on.
"He’s a player we've liked. Choco (development coach Mark Williams) at the start of the year (said he was) one of the better kids he’s seen in his time," Hardwick said.
"His ability to cover the ground, he can change his mind, and he's really athletic.
"He’s got a little way to go, but it’s really exciting to see a player take the game on like him."
The North Adelaide product, born in Belarus, missed out on being drafted when he was 18 but he said the disappointment of not being taken by a club steeled him for what was to come.
"I feel like resilience is one of my best friends in a way," Markov said.
"I didn't get drafted in my draft year and probably could have easily given up, but just the persistence of trying to get better and make the best version of myself, no-one else, just myself [was something that drove me]."
Markov has another peculiar pursuit outside of footy with one of those passions, back in Adelaide, involving taking apart old motorbikes and cars and seeing how they function.
He says it is a good release from the day-to-day grind of footy.
"I'm a bit of a tinkerer. I like old things. I like antiques," Markov said.
"It's just another passion. You're always surrounded by footy and it's everywhere in the media, so it's just a matter of having that time where you can switch off for an hour or two and that's always good."