Former Corowa-Rutherglen footballer and 2016 AFL draft pick Ryan Garthwaite says he’s happy biding his time as he waits for an AFL debut with Richmond.
The 19-year-old told the Free Press he is “living his dream” after moving to Melbourne and playing for Richmond in the VFL since the start of the football season.
While the versatile defender is yet to play with the AFL side, he has been named best on ground four times for the Tigers in the reserves.
“Richmond is playing well at the moment and have a few of the best defenders in the league, but I will just keep playing my strongest in the reserves and keep enjoying it, when my time comes it will come,” he said.
The key defender received a ringing endorsement from the Tigers’ VFL captain Sam Darley, who said Garthwaite started the VFL season strongly, showcasing his defensive skills, first-rate intercept marking, and considerable appetite for the contest.
After playing his entire junior career as a forward with Corowa-Rutherglen and the Murray Bushrangers, Garthwaite had interest from as many as seven AFL clubs as a defensive prospect ahead of the 2016 national draft.
Garthwaite said he was enjoying the new position.
“It’s just a change of mindset, it doesn’t matter what end you are playing, you are just doing your job for the team,” he said.
It didn’t take long for Garthwaite to be initiated into footy club culture, with ‘Garth Vader’ an early nickname before Jack Riewoldt came up with ‘Daryl’, a reference to singer Daryl Braithwaite.
“I don’t mind the nickname, there are worse ones around,” he said.
When asked if he was a fan of Braithwaite’s music, Garthwaite explained that he only really knew one of his songs.
“I know Horses, but that’s really the only one I know,” he said.
Garthwaite admitted to being a little star struck when he first arrived at the AFL club.
“You walk into the club and you see the players that you have been looking up to for 11 years, so you sort of think to yourself, ‘gee am I meant to be here?’”
“Then you do realise that they are just normal blokes at the end of the day that play football for a living.
“The club has been amazing and I am enjoying every moment.
“It has long been my dream to play football for a living, so all of my hard work has paid off.”
Garthwaite counts round two against Sandringham as his best games with the VFL to date.
“I thought I led the ball well and we played well as a team,” he said.
Garthwaite also received a best on ground for the Tigers in their loss to Port Melbourne on April 29, finishing with 12 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and four spoils.
Recently he kicked his first two goals for the competition in a match against Essendon on July 1.
Garthwaite became the first player from the Ovens and Murray club to head to the top level since David Teague, who played in the Roos’ premiership side in 2000, was taken by North Melbourne at the rookie draft later that year.