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Understated Tigers' mature rookie comes of age

Highlights: Port Adelaide v Richmond The Power and Tigers clash in round 15
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 01: Kane Lambert of the Tigers is tackled by Sam Gray of the Power during the 2017 AFL round 15 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Richmond Tigers at Adelaide Oval on July 01, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Kane Lambert was terrific against Port Adelaide

RICHMOND midfielder Kane Lambert is one of those rookie-list success stories that shows talent, and not age, should be the determining factor in establishing an AFL career.

While he doesn't grab the headlines of Dustin Martin, Alex Rance or Jack Riewoldt, Lambert's contribution to the Tigers is an under-rated part of why they suddenly find themselves in the top four.

In just his 41st game, the 25-year-old had a career-high 33 possessions (including 12 contested) for the Tigers in their rousing 13-point victory over Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.

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Lambert also laid a team-high 10 tackles and was level with ruckman Toby Nankervis for leading the side for clearances with six.

"It felt like a high-running game, they're very good in the contest so we had to try and match them there and then try to exploit them on the outside," Lambert told

Lambert arrived at the Tigers as the 46th overall pick in the 2014 rookie draft after pressing his claims in the VFL with the Northern Bullants and Williamstown.

After 28 games in his first two seasons, he's established himself in the side this year, missing only the round one win against Carlton.

The Tigers had winners across the park, especially in the second half when they booted eight goals to three.

All-Australian defender Rance shook off the attention of Jackson Trengove, who was shadowing him all night as a defensive forward, to have an impact.

"It's credit to Rancey, as a fullback getting tagged, but his second half was fantastic," Lambert said.

"He's a superstar of the game and sides are going to do that to him.

"But I thought he was well assisted by David Astbury and Dylan Grimes back there as well."

Lambert also had praise for the performance of Martin, who picked up a team-high 36 disposals and booted a key goal in the third quarter.

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"He's an unbelievable player and it's a real credit even to play with him," Lambert said.

"Just to be able to see him live and the things he does, but the best thing about Dusty is he's a real team man as well.

"He's a great teammate in that sense, so we're really excited what he's done and what he's going to do."