Richmond fans can expect plenty of speed and excitement from AFL first-gamer Oleg Markov against the Western Bulldogs.
The 20-year-old South Australian is the son of champion pole vaulter Dimitri Markov and teammate Anthony Miles said Markov’s athletic background showed in the way he moved on the field.
“He’s a really exciting prospect and probably didn’t think he’d get a game this year, he’s just so raw,” Miles said on Friday.
“But he’s been playing some really good footy in the VFL and deserves his opportunity.
“You’ll certainly find out tomorrow he’s got a lot of pace and raw excitement.”
“He’s very excited but he’s a pretty level kid.
“Tomorrow I think he’ll turn his phone off and concentrate on the game.”
Markov is Richmond’s fifth debutant this year, and Miles said the club is excited to see the next crop of young players coming through.
“All of them have shown during stages of games and patches of games that they can play, and it’s really exciting for the club,” he said.
He’s joined the chorus of Richmond voices requesting more from the next generation to help them avoid another campaign of struggle next year.
“Make no mistakes, we’ve been disappointed with how the season’s panned out,” he said.
“Our top players have been outstanding.
“Our improvement has got to come from beneath those guys … the middle tier and our younger guys coming through.
“We’ve got to keep pushing those guys to become better and we’ve got to become better as well.
Markov is already considered elite at the Tigers in one area: facial grooming.
The unkept Miles said he considered the youngster’s moustache “beautiful”, suggesting it could become a fan favourite.
“He’s had a few trims but play on I reckon,” he laughed.
Against the Bulldogs, Markov is one of five inclusions.
Shaun Hampson, Liam McBean and fellow 2016 debutants Daniel Rioli and Jason Castagna also return.
Shaun Grigg (knee) is the only forced out for Damien Hardwick’s side, with Ivan Maric, Kane Lambert, Ty Vickery and Nathan Broad dropped.
Despite the poor Tiger showing this season, Miles said Richmond was still in a position to cause a few upsets.
“With the eight so close I think we can certainly shape the eight,” he said.