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Why Samson Ryan is crucial to Richmond's future

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Roar Guru
17th October, 2023
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While Jacob Koschitzke’s rumoured trade to Richmond is significant, Samson Ryan is their true future. Ryan is 22 years old and has plenty of time to improve his ruck and forward craft.

The young forward/ruck player has been a part of Tigerland for almost four years now, having completed three seasons already.

If the trade for Koschitzke goes through, what will be Ryan’s role?

Is he the second ruck for Toby Nankervis, or the second forward for Tom Lynch?

Or is the young kid from Queensland on the chopping block at season’s end?

Although Ryan has shown moments of brilliance, his overall performance has been inconsistent. We can see a pattern of ups and downs in his game, which suggests that there is room for improvement.

During his first AFL game against St Kilda in Round 15 of 2021, he only managed to get one touch for the entire match.

Pundits were puzzled by the selection of a tall player given the unsuitable wet conditions at the MCG.

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But to Ryan’s credit, he worked on his ruck and forward craft in the VFL in 2022.

He was rewarded for his efforts in 2023, playing 14 games of AFL and booting 12 goals.

During Ryan’s second game, he kicked three, leading the Tigers to a 32-point victory over the Adelaide Crows in Round 2.

(Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Yokayi Footy discussed Ryan’s performance at the time, with Richmond’s assistant coach Xavier Clarke praising the young forward.

“We knew he had the talent, we were just waiting where we could fit him in and we think now he can slot in that forward line with Tom Lynch and then be our second ruck to Toby Nankervis,” said Clarke.

If Koschitzke joins Richmond, it will be his second team in the AFL, at the tender age of 22.

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We have seen many young forwards move to other clubs only to be frozen out. A prime example is Josh Schache, once hailed as a future star of the game. But the young forward only played three games for Melbourne this year, his third AFL club in seven years.

In season 2023, Koschitzke booted nine goals and averaged 0.8 goals a game for the Hawks.

Is the trade the right step in his development as a key forward, with Hawthorn building nicely under the guidance of coach Sam Mitchell?

Another issue for Koschitzke: would he suit Richmond’s game style?

For the last three years, Ryan has been playing under the Richmond system and is well-versed in the different leading patterns that a forward must offer.

The young forward/ruck stands at 206 centimetres, making him a towering presence on the field. With Richmond in need of a second forward to partner with Tom Lynch, why not choose Ryan?

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He could be a future headache for opposition coaches and has a ruck craft to match it against the best.

If Ryan has the space and time to jump for the ball at the top of the goal square, he could turn a game around in 2024, similar to Mason Cox for Collingwood.

It’s important to note that Ryan adds a touch of humour to the already creative team, which is much needed to create the perfect atmosphere for the Tigers in what promises to be a challenging season.

If we look at Collingwood, it was a similar atmosphere that led to their success in 2023.

Lastly, Ryan’s contract has been extended until 2024, which is proof that he is the future of the Tigers, a team that has produced some of the best forwards in the game.

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