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Promising Tigers youngster in early contract talks

Rookie Ryan Garthwaite's manager has entered contract talks with the club - AFL,Richmond Tigers,Ryan Garthwaite
Rookie Ryan Garthwaite's manager has entered contract talks with the club

RICHMOND has entered into preliminary talks with the management of Ryan Garthwaite about extending the promising defender's contract. 

Garthwaite, 19, has been on the Tigers' list since the end of 2016 and is yet to play an AFL game. 

The strength of the Tigers' backline and form of tall defenders Alex Rance, David Astbury and Dylan Grimes has made it hard for the youngster to break into the senior side. 

But he's been considered at match committee on more than one occasion this season, having been named as an emergency for the Tigers' round three clash with Hawthorn and on the weekend for their round eight win over North Melbourne. 

It is understood that early talks have been had about a new deal, with the versatile backman set to come out of contract at the end of this season. 

Garthwaite was taken with pick No.72 overall in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft after showcasing his elite skills at the national combine that year.

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The former Murray Bushranger recorded the equal best result in the clean hands test and finished in the top 10 of the goal-kicking assessment. 

The Tigers have also held early talks with Jack Higgins' manager about potentially extending his current draftee contract by another two years. 

However, the majority of their out-of-contract players are in a holding pattern when it comes to extension talks, as the Tigers continue to be linked to highly-priced restricted free agent Tom Lynch. 

Premiership players Bachar Houli, Shaun Grigg, Jacob Townsend and Nathan Broad are coming out of contract and yet to make any significant headway in negotiations, while fringe players Sam Lloyd, Corey Ellis, Connor Menadue and Anthony Miles are also unsure of their futures at Punt Road. 

The much-improved Jayden Short and reborn midfielder Reece Conca are also out of contract, as are Oleg Markov, Ivan Soldo, Shai Bolton and the injury-hit Nathan Drummond. 

Ruckman Shaun Hampson is in the final year of his contract, but it's widely expected this will be the former Blue's last at AFL level given his on-going battle with a back injury that has restricted him to just one VFL game this season.

Rance recently said he was "really proud" of the way the Tigers have handled their list management over the last few years. 

He also told Fox Footy he didn't "necessarily believe that we should be upsetting the apple cart to go and chase a big fish", before calling Lynch "the big tuna".