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Tigers turn to debutant for Hawks clash

Super Cotch, Bugg exclusive, Dogs united Nat Edwards and Matt Thompson with the latest news

RICHMOND has revealed exciting small forward Jack Higgins will make his AFL debut against Hawthorn at the MCG on Sunday.

The Tigers' first pick in last year's NAB AFL Draft (No.17 overall), Higgins was a standout at under-18 level last year, winning Vic Metro's MVP award, being named an All Australian and taking out the TAC Cup's Morrish Medal after booting 32 goals in 14 games.

Higgins has been pressing his claims for a debut after several strong performances at VFL level, including his last game against Box Hill in which he gathered 22 disposals, laid five tackles and kicked one goal.

Josh Caddy's suspension has paved the way for the 177cm forward/midfielder to play his first game in the yellow and black.

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Defender Nick Vlastuin is also a likely inclusion after he missed last week's Grand Final rematch against Adelaide with delayed concussion symptoms.

Higgins featured for the Tigers in the club's first JLT Community Series match against Essendon but did not play in the club's second game against North Melbourne.

It is understood Richmond has been working hard with Higgins on the defensive aspects of his game, with development coach Xavier Clarke saying the youngster had impressed all at the club with his enthusiasm and tenacity.

"He ran a 10.10 3km time trial, which is elite midfield running … his strength stuff in the gym's been pretty good, too. And he's been able to understand our game plan pretty quickly and pick that up," Clarke told the club's website.

"His run and ability to be able to get back in defence, and then also join in the attack, is certainly one of his biggest strengths. 

"He's really good in the contest and making tackles ..  and he gets a really good balance between contested and outside possession as well. 

"The other good thing about Jack is he's really dangerous when it goes forward. He knows where the goals are, and he loves a goal."