RICHMOND has signed a former basketballer as a Category B rookie who will immediately become the AFL's tallest player. revealed in August the Tigers were hot on the heels of Mate Colina, a 213cm athlete who is Noah Balta's cousin and close with ruck coach Ivan Maric and ruckman Ivan Soldo.

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Colina played division-one basketball at the University of Hawaii and was in the same Australian under-17 basketball squad as Brisbane forward Tom Fullarton and ex-Eagle Patrick Bines in 2016.

He won't join Richmond until the upcoming college basketball season ends in March next year.

However, the 21-year-old will now turn his sporting attention to football, a sport he played at junior level – alongside Balta – at Essendon Doutta Stars.

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Noah lets rip from outside the arc

Tiger utility Noah Balta gets mobbed by teammates after unleashing an absolute pearler from around 60m out

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"It's pretty surreal," Colina said.

"I couldn't be prouder to be with such a prestigious club that has such a rich history and culture. I think it is a club that in the long run would help me become a better person as well and a leader. 

"I think I will have the ability to both follow the ball in the ruck or be forward, and really provide a presence that can mark the ball."

Colina auditioned for Richmond in Melbourne this year, training alongside Virgin Australia AFL All Australian Shane Edwards and under the watchful eye of list boss Blair Hartley and senior club advisor Neil Balme.

It's not the first time the Tigers have taken a chance on turning a basketball into a ruckman via a family connection.

Premiership ruckman Soldo had never played football before Maric convinced his cousin and Richmond six years ago that he could have a successful AFL career.