Richmond has announced a trio of re-signings including Jack Graham, with the South Australian signing a two year extension until the end of 2020.
Richmond has re-signed ruckman Toby Nankervis, defender Dylan Grimes and young midfielder Jack Graham ✍
— Richmond FC 🐯 (@Richmond_FC) February 6, 2018
Drafted with pick 53 from North Adelaide, Jack Graham made his debut in round 22 and played the final five games of the season including the 2017 Grand Final triumph.
Arrival at Punt Road
Jack Graham was certainly considered a talented prospect in the lead up to the draft. He captained South Australia at the national championships and was awarded the Larke medal as the best division one player.
The powerful midfielder averaged 25.3 disposals and was selected in the carnival All-Australian team.
Despite this however there seemed to be some question marks on his fitness and some previous injury issues, which contributed to him slipping down the draft order.
The Tigers were the club who would ultimately pull the trigger and Tigers Recruiting Officer Francis Jackson was delighted the South Australian was still available late in the draft.
“A fantastic character who plays with heart and size. He is a real competitor who won the Larke Medal as the best player at the under-18 championships. He is an elite runner and his work ethic is exceptional. We were very excited he was still there,” said Jackson.
Standing up when it counts
Injury struck on the eve of the 2017 season when Jack Graham suffered a fractured ankle during a training session which put him on the long-term injury list.
The 19 year-old worked extremely hard in his rehabilitation and solid VFL form saw him get his opportunity with an AFL debut in the round 22 clash with Fremantle.
But it is the Grand Final that Jack Graham will be fondly remembered for years to come. Ironically a Crows supporter growing up, Graham was one of the biggest success stories on the day.
An important tagging role on Rory Sloane saw the 19 year-old limit the influence of the Crows champ. The Tiger also kicked three vital goals in a performance that saw him gather a vote in the Norm Smith voting.
Jack Graham: A life member
In a decision that has divided opinion, the 2017 Richmond team and coach Damien Hardwick have been granted life membership after the amazing premiership victory.
It is hard to imagine a more amazing start to an AFL career than Jack Graham. Five games played, no losses, a Premiership and a Richmond life member.
We often hear about players suffering second year-blues. This would be understandable for Jack Graham given what transpired in year one at AFL level!