Young Tigers making their AFL marks

Kamdyn McIntosh and Ben Lennon have been a large part of the answer to the big question confronting Richmond this AFL season.

The Tigers concentrated on the draft rather than trading late last year, meaning no massive short-term boost to their list.

Taylor Hunt was the only experienced AFL player to join them.

So after making the finals for two season, where would Richmond find the way to improve again?

McIntosh and Lennon have been revelations this season, showing great resilience to become regular members of the senior team.

They earned Rising Star nominations and will play their first finals on Sunday against North Melbourne.

“It’s those players (aged) 18 to 22 where clubs are going to get their improvement,” said Tigers football manager Dan Richardson.

“Obviously some others have improved as well, but certainly those two have been part of the reason we feel we’ve improved this year and will continue to improve, because they’re young.”

McIntosh, 21, made his senior debut in round one and has played every game.

After seven games last year, 20-year-old Lennon has played another eight this season – including every match since round 16.

They’ve also had plenty to overcome along the way.

McIntosh, from country WA, was drafted in 2012, but his senior debut was delayed because of injuries.

Lennon was a first-round draft pick two years ago and also found it tough to secure a senior berth, often playing last year as the sub.

“He (Lennon) has had to probably work a bit harder for it than he thought he might, but it hasn’t done him any harm,” Richardson said.

“They’ve both had to work for their spots and show a bit of resilience, work hard to establish themselves as reasonably regular senior players.”

McIntosh started the season hoping to play five or 10 AFL games.

“It’s been a dream come true, this year,” he said.

“My next step is to play finals footy, which I do this weekend.

“We’ll see what happens.”

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