Ex-Gold Coast midfielder Dion Prestia says Richmond’s strong list and a high probability of playing finals football were key factors in his decision to join the Tigers.
Prestia was unveiled at a press conference at Punt Road on Wednesday, just hours after his trade from the Suns was finalised.
The Tigers secured Prestia and pick No.24 in this year’s AFL draft in exchange for pick No.6 and Richmond’s 2017 second-round pick.
Prestia requested a trade at the end of the 2016 season after playing 95 games in six seasons with Gold Coast.
The 24-year-old Victorian’s main motivation was a desire to be closer to family and friends, but he is also bullish about the Tigers’ prospects in 2017 and beyond.
“This year was an off year I feel for the club, but I think finals are on the cards,” Prestia said.
“Obviously coming home was a big factor … (but) I picked Richmond because of their list.
“Being able to play with the likes of Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin in the midfield and having the two Ellis boys and Anthony Miles in there as well.
“That was a major factor … it’s a really strong midfield and they’ve also got some great players at either end (of the field).”
Prestia said the season of turmoil the Tigers endured, including speculation around the future of coach Damien Hardwick, didn’t affect his decision-making process.
The midfielder’s season was cut short when he suffered a knee injury against Brisbane in round 16 that required surgery, but he said he will be ready to begin pre-season training with his new teammates.
He has managed just 22 games in the past two years because of knee issues but the Tigers were delighted to get their man after protracted negotiations.
“We identified Dion earlier this year as a player that we wanted at our football club, he’s a power runner, highly competitive and impacts games significantly,” Richmond list manager Dan Richardson said in a statement.
“At 24 years of age, Dion has many years of good football ahead of him, he’s also a person of great character, and being vice-captain at the Gold Coast Suns, he has great leadership qualities also.”