Richmond rookies roaring to AFL finals

Rookies Sydney Stack (l) and Mabior Chol (c) played key roles in the Tigers' win over St Kilda. (AAP)

Richmond trio Sydney Stack, Mabior Chol and Derek Eggmolesse-Smith are some of the unheralded Tigers used in 2019.

Richmond's depth has been tested in 2019 but they are still well-placed to roar towards the AFL finals thanks in no small part to their unheralded young talent.

Tigers half-back flanker Derek Eggmolesse-Smith will make his AFL debut against Gold Coast on Saturday, while the senior careers of Sydney Stack and Mabior Chol keep rolling on.

The trio were nowhere near Richmond's best side at the start of the season but a crippling run of injuries forced coach Damien Hardwick to look to his rookie list.

It has proved to be a blessing in disguise.

After being overlooked in the national and rookie drafts last year, Stack was nabbed by the Tigers in the pre-season supplemental period.

He has since made every post a winner, so much so that the 19-year-old is challenging No.1 draft pick Sam Walsh for Rising Star honours.

At the start of last month, Sudanese-born Chol had played just one AFL match in three-and-a-half years on Richmond's list - and that was in a 113-point drubbing by Sydney back in 2016.

Now he's set to play a third straight game at the top level as an athletic ruck-forward with plenty of upside.

They will be joined at Metricon Stadium on Sunday by Eggmolesse-Smith, a product of the club's indigenous academy who hails from Richmond's traditional Sunraysia recruiting zone in Victoria's north-west.

The Gold Coast marks the Tigers' final road trip of the season before they play seven straight games at the MCG. Hardwick said there would be no complacency against the bottom-placed Suns.

"The one thing we do within our four walls is we challenge the players mentally every week, it's one thing we work incredibly hard on," Hardwick said.

"The players are very good at understanding what makes them tick and how to get the best performance against their opponent each week.

"You look at every coach that has spoken about the Gold Coast and the way they play the game, there is enormous respect for the way they're going about it because they're hard, they're tough to beat."

The Suns have lost 10 games in a row but coach Stuart Dew remains upbeat he has the players to stifle Richmond's run into the finals.

"Although the win column hasn't ticked over, we're certainly seeing some improvement in individuals," Dew said.

"Richmond are certainly getting some names back but I think their system is impressive as well and they're starting to build.

"At different times Damien has said himself he hasn't been happy with how they're playing but since the bye they've been nice and fresh."

Source AAP

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