Lennon in March 2017
|Date of birth||July 5, 1995|
|Original team(s)||Northern Knights (TAC Cup)|
|Draft||No. 12, 2013 national draft|
Round 9, 2014, Richmond|
vs. Melbourne, at MCG
|Height||188 cm (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||84 kg (185 lb)|
|Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com|
Ben Lennon (born 5 July 1995) is a former professional Australian rules footballer who played for the Richmond Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was an under 18 All Australian before becoming a first round AFL draft pick in 2013. Lennon played 21 matches with Richmond over a four-year stint at the club before being delisted, quitting the sport and taking up scholarship offer to play American football at the University of Utah in the United States.
Early life and junior football
In 2012 Lennon began playing with the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup. During the 2013 TAC Cup season Lennon had a season average of 24.7 disposals and 7.1 marks per game. He also kicked 10 goals in his seven matches for the season.
Lennon represented Victorian Metropolitan sides at many stages of his junior career including at Under 12, 15, 16 and 17 level. He represented the Victorian Metro region at the 2013 AFL Under 18 Championships, winning All-Australian selection for his performances. In 2013 he was also a member of the AIS-AFL Academy program. As part of the program he participated in a number of training sessions with the Richmond Football Club senior side in January 2013.
Prior to the end of year AFL draft, media reports emerged suggesting he was a sought-after player by clubs including Brisbane Lions, Collingwood and Richmond. Lennon was termed a "gun prospect" by AFL Media draft expert Callum Twomey in a feature article published on the AFL website in November 2013.
Lennon was drafted by Richmond with the club's first pick and the twelfth pick overall in the 2013 AFL National Draft. Following the draft Richmond recruiting manager Francis Jackson labelled him "an outstanding mark for his size" and "a constant threat overhead." Jackson also lauded Lennon for his kicking skills and decision making prowess.
Lennon's first season as a Richmond player was interrupted in February 2014, when a knee injury he sustained at training required surgery. Following his recovery he resumed his 2014 preparation by playing matches in the club's reserves side in the VFL. He made his league debut in round 9 of the 2014 season, in a match against Melbourne at the MCG. Lennon started the match as the Richmond substitute and was not brought into the game until the third quarter. Within seconds of entering the game, Lennon scored a goal for Richmond, becoming one of a select few players to have scored a goal with his first career kick. He finished the match with an equal-team-high two goals. He would play the next four matches in the club's AFL side, before being dropped from the round 14 side to play Sydney. Lennon returned to the senior side in matches in rounds 21 and 22 before again being dropped from the round 23 side. He finished the season having played seven matches and having kicked two goals.
Lennon struggled to gain AFL team selection in the early part of his second season. He played first in round 5 but struggled to make an impact, recording just three disposals in the match. He was dropped the following week and did not return to the club's AFL side until round 16, 2015. He impressed on that occasion however, recording an equal game-high three goals in the match. He played the next seven consecutive games, including a round 20 match against Gold Coast where he recorded 22 disposals. In round 22 Lennon Lennon gained a nomination for the 2015 AFL Rising Star award after a 26 disposal and nine mark performance in Richmond's win against Essendon. Despite his fine form, Lennon was dropped from the club's side to play North Melbourne in a first round elimination final. He finished the season having played nine matches and recording averages of 11.7 disposals and 4.9 marks per game. At the end of the season Lennon became the subject of media interest after efforts to strike a new contract with Richmond stalled. Reports suggest he was attracting interest from other clubs, most notably from Carlton. He was eventually re-signed by Richmond, in a two-year deal struck on 15 October.
In the 2016 pre-season Lennon was struck by a bout of glandular fever. At the time he was recovering from minor hip surgery underwent at the conclusion of the previous season. As a result of the injury and illness he missed the club's pre-season training camp and faced a limited work load for much of the early part of the year. He played in the club's senior side in rounds 3 and 4 before being dropped from the side the following week. He struggled to gain senior selection in later weeks due to two concussions suffered in VFL matches. In May he suffered an AC joint injury during a club training session. The resulting surgery forced him to miss a further six weeks of matches at all levels. He was again injured in July, with an ankle injury suffered in a VFL match keeping him out a further three weeks. Lennon played just one more match that season, in round 21 against Geelong. In three his three matches that season he recorded averages of 11.7 disposals and 6.3 marks per game. On the back of a third successive season of disappointment Lennon reportedly requested a trade in late August 2016. He later revealed coach Damien Hardwick has suggested it would be beneficial to Lennon's career to seek options elsewhere. Despite this Lennon would stay put, with interest from other club's reportedly minimal.
Lennon hired a private sprint coach ahead of the 2017 season, hoping to increase his fitness base and press for senior selection in 2017. Though he did not play round 1, the strategy appeared to have paid dividends when he was selected in round 2 to take on Collingwood. He played just one more match before being dropped though, returning to reserves grade football in the VFL. There he was a significant contributor, scoring bags of goals on several occasions including a six-goal haul against North Ballarat in mid-April. Lennon looked likely to make a return in round 14 when he was named in the club's 25-man squad to take on Carlton. A hamstring injury sustained just hours before teams were to be named saw him miss out however, and ruled him out from playing for two weeks at all levels. When medium-sized forward Josh Caddy sustained a hamstring injury that ruled him out in round 22, Lennon was one of a number of forwards in the running to take up the role. He was not successful however, as eventual VFL league best and fairest winner Jacob Townsend claimed the spot and Lennon remained with the reserves. He ultimately not return to senior football in 2017 instead playing with the reserves team through to their finals campaign. There he played in each of the club's three finals three victories as well as in their losing grand final against Port Melbourne. He had an opportunity to win the game with a kick after the siren and from inside the centre square but managed to score only a behind. Lennon finished the 2017 season having played two matches and kicked one goal at senior level. He also played 18 matches in the reserves and kicked 45 goals, good for number one at the club and second most in the league.
Lennon was delisted by Richmond at the conclusion of the 2017 AFL season, after playing 21 matches over his four-year tenure at the club.
|Totals||Averages (per game)|
American football career
Lennon did not nominate for the AFL draft after his de-listing by Richmond in 2017, instead learning the American football skill of punting, in an attempt to play the sport at college level in the United States. In January 2018 he received a scholarship to join the University of Utah one year later in 2019.
During the 2014 pre-season period Lennon starred in an AFL Media documentary called Draft Days. The documentary follows the progress of three players who are childhood friends and striving to be a part of the AFL draft. The other players are Jack Billings drafted by St Kilda and Luke McDonald drafted by North Melbourne.
- Quayle, Emma (15 November 2013). "AFL hopeful Ben Lennon on course". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- Twomey, Callum (2 November 2013). "19 days to the draft: Meet gun prospect Ben Lennon". Australian Football League. AFL. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- "2013 draft prospect: Ben Lennon". AFL Media. Bigpond. 20 October 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "2013 National Draft: Pick 12 – Ben Lennon". Richmond FC. Bigpond. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Jay Clark (11 November 2013). "Ben Lennon can make things happen and has the Pies, Lions and Tigers keen". Richmond Football Club. RFC. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- "Lennon makes an impression". Richmond Football Club. RFC. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- Warner, Michael (24 February 2014). "Richmond sends Ivan Maric, Ben Lennon in for surgery". Herald Sun. News Ltd. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- "In the mix: round two". AFL. AFL. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- "Melbourne Demons beat Richmond as Tigers farewell Tom Hafey at the MCG". ABC.com.au. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Melbourne posts gutsy AFL win over wasteful Richmond". The Age. Fairfax Media. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
- "2014 AFL round 14 teams". The Age. Fairfax Media. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "2014 AFL round 23 teams". The Age. Fairfax Media. 29 August 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Ben Lennon statistics". AFL Tables. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "AFL teams 2015: round six". The Age. Fairfax Media. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Schmook, Nathan (31 May 2016). "Tiger Ben Lennon out of action for six weeks". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Edmund, Sam (19 July 2015). "AFL 2015: Richmond defeats St Kilda by 16 points at Etihad Stadium in round 16". Fox Sports. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Lennon re-signs with the Tigers". Richmond FC. Bigpond. 15 October 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Waterworth, Ben (31 August 2015). "Ben Lennon is the Rising Star nominee for round 22". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
- Schmook, Nathan (13 September 2015). "Hardwick slams 'diabolical' umpiring decision late in heartbreaking loss". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Beveridge, Riley (8 October 2015). "AFL trades 2015: Ben Lennon's future at Richmond still to be decided". Fox Sports. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Schmook, Nathan (15 October 2015). "Tiger forward Ben Lennon off the market after signing new deal". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Wood, Lauren (11 December 2015). "Ben Lennon to miss Richmond's Palm Cove training camp after being struck down with glandular fever". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Round 5 AFL teams: Every club's ins, outs and selected side for this weekend's games". Fox Sports. News Corp Australia. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Schmook, Nathan (25 July 2016). "Luckless Tiger suffers another setback". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Twomey, Callum (31 August 2016). "Fringe Tiger forward keen for trade". AFL Media. Bigpond. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- Warner, Michael (1 January 2017). "Ben Lennon wants to establish himself as a Richmond player after requesting a trade". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "AFL Teams Round 2: Full squads for every game, ins and outs, injuries, suspensions and team news". Fox Sports. News Corp Australia. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- "AFL Teams Round 4: Full squads for every game, ins and outs, injuries, suspensions and team news". Fox Sports. News Corp Australia. 14 April 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- Prime, Toby (16 April 2017). "Richmond defeats North Ballarat by 189 points in VFL". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- "Lennon Pulls Out Of Tigers Squad". Triple M. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- "Lennon, Morris sidelined with hamstring injuries". Richmond FC. Telstra Media. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- Greenberg, Tony (17 August 2017). "Four Tiger squad inclusions". Richmond FC. Telstra Media. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- Cherny, Daniel (16 October 2017). "Sam Lloyd puts hand up to possibly replace Trent Cotchin for Richmond in grand final". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- Prime, Toby (16 October 2017). "Port Melbourne wins VFL premiership as Ben Lennon misses kick after final siren". Herald Sun. News Corp Austalia. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- Navaratnam, Dinny (24 September 2017). "Forgotten Tiger puts hand up for GF call-up". AFL Media. Telstra Media. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
- "Scoring Summary". Peter Jackson VFL 2017. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- Whiting, Michael (26 October 2017). "Tigers axe versatile back and talented goalsneak". AFL.com.au. Bigpond. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
- Salemme, Kate (3 December 2017). "Former Richmond forward Ben Lennon training to pursue NFL punting career". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
- "Axed Tiger next in line to take the punt". AFL Media. Telstra Media. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
- Schmook, Nathan (14 January 2018). "Another former Tiger's US punt pays off". AFL Media. Telstra Media. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- Robinson, Mark (19 May 2014). "The Tackle: Mark Robinson spends a day with Ben Lennon's family as he makes his Richmond debut". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
- "Lennon stars in AFL documentary". Richmond Football Club. RFC. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ben Lennon.|