The Richmond Tigers plan on taking things slowly with young Ben Lennon during his second season with the AFL team in 2015 and that could affect the way punters wager at BetEasy AFL. Richmond has taken a fast-track approach with their young, new players in the past as players such as Brandon Ellis, Dustin Martin, Nick Vlastuin and Reece Conca were all used as regulars in their first seasons. Other than Vlastuin, all of those players appeared in the first round of their debut seasons. Vlastuin ended up playing 18 matches in his first year back in 2013 while Conca played 17 his first campaign and Ellis and Martin each got into 21 contests.
The Punt Road squad is now deeper though and this means Richmond can now afford to bring along players such as the 19-year-old Lennon at a slower pace. Fans should expect to see Corey Ellis, the team’s top draft pick in 2014, also eased into action. Lennon underwent hip surgery during the offseason and head coach Damien Hardwick stated that he will be using the player at both half-forward and half-back, depending on the situation and the team’s needs.
Hardwick recently spoke to AFL.com.au and said, “Lennon’s probably one of those guys who’s capable of playing forward and back, depending on where we see a need at this stage – whether it’s back or forward, he’ll play there. He’s got some things we really like in his game that can help us and make us better.”
Lennon returned to training shortly after Christmas and he’s hoping to play later on in the Tigers’ NAB Challenge series games, which can be bet on at BetEasy AFL. He made his debut in round nine last year and made seven appearances for the senior side, with five of them being as a substitute. Hardwick claimed that Lennon will get the chance to prove himself and earn a spot on the round-one squad during the preseason. The coach added that Lennon was an important player last season and he has a big future ahead of him in the AFL as long as he continues to work hard.
Hardwick added, “Hopefully there’s a position there for him come round one. He’s a great kick, he’s a beautiful mark, he’s working very hard on some facets of his game he knows he has to improve and if he continues to do that, he’ll certainly put his hand up to solidify a position in the side.”
As for the 18-year-old midfielder Ellis, who chosen by Richmond with the 12th overall draft pick last year in the NAB AFL Draft, he underwent foot surgery shortly after joining the team and is still on a modified training program. Hardwick remarked that the Tigers have a stronger side now and won’t have to rush Ellis into the squad until he’s 100 per cent healthy. The coach said it’s tough for an 18-year-old to prepare himself to play in front of about 80,000 fans in a round-one match versus a team such as Carlton.
Hardwick finished by saying that all of his players will have to earn their jumpers this year by playing the game the way the club wants them to play and showing they believe in the same values as the club. Fans and bettors can follow and back the Richmond Tigers throughout the 2015 season via BetEasy AFL.