Jack Graham (Australian footballer, born 1998)

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Jack Graham
Jack Graham 1 26.05.18 (cropped).jpg
Graham with Richmond in May 2018
Personal information
Nickname(s) Fridge[1]
Date of birth (1998-02-25) 25 February 1998 (age 21)
Original team(s) North Adelaide (SANFL)
Tea Tree Gully (NEMJFA)
Draft No. 53, 2016 AFL national draft
Debut Round 22, 2017, Richmond
vs. Fremantle, at Domain Stadium
Height 181 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 82 kg (181 lb)
Position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current club Richmond
Number 34
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
2017– Richmond 23 (11)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of the 2018 season.
Career highlights

AFL

Junior

  • Larke Medal: 2016
  • Under 18 All-Australian: 2016
  • Under 18 South Australia captain: 2016
  • Under 16 South Australia captain: 2014
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Jack Graham (born 25 February 1998) is a professional Australian rules footballer playing for the Richmond Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). As a junior he captained South Australia at the 2016 AFL Under 18 Championships and won the Larke Medal as the competition's best player. After being drafted by Richmond in the third round of the 2016 draft, he became a 2017 premiership player with the club in just his fifth career AFL game.

Early life and junior football[edit]

Graham spent his formative years in the North eastern Adelaide suburb of Greenwith.[2] He played junior football with Tea Tree Gully in the North Eastern Metro Junior Football Association.[3] He later joined North Adelaide's development program at age 12 where he began playing representative junior football.[4]

In 2013 he captained the under 15s South Australian representative schoolboys team at the year's national championships.[4] The following year he captained the premiership winning South Australian side at the Under 16 national championships.[4]

Graham made his SANFL senior debut with North Adelaide in June 2015. He had 15 possessions in the match, along with six marks, three tackles and two clearances.[5] That year he was also selected to play for his state at the under 18 national championships as a bottom aged player. He finished the tournament having played two matches.[4]

In the 2015/16 off-season Graham was a member of the 33-man AFL Academy squad. As part of the program he spent a fortnight training with the AFL's Port Adelaide in December 2015. He also joined the other members of the elite group in a training camp in Melbourne and another in the United States.[6] A quad injury sustained during this period however, saw his summer partially interrupted.[7]

In 2016 Graham was selected to represent and captain the South Australian side at the national under 18s carnival.[8] He was named among his state's best players in three of his four games at the tournament[7][9][10] His 25 disposals and five clearances per game both lead the competition while his 11 contested possessions saw him rank second. Graham also averaged 318 metres gained in his four matches at the carnival.[11] Graham was awarded the Larke Medal as the competition's best player, becoming the first South Australian to do so in 14 years.[12] He was later named in the competition's All Australian team and received South Australia's most valuable player award.[13][14]

At state level he also performed strongly that year, averaging 24 disposals per game in the SANFL under 18s through the start of June 2016.[15] A quad injury saw Graham miss the club's finals campaign however and prematurely ended his final season at junior level.[16]

AFL recruitment[edit]

Graham was invited to attend the national draft combine in Melbourne in October 2016.[17] He did not complete physical testing, however, due to a strained quadriceps muscle.[18]

South Australian junior high performance manager Brenton Phillips likened to Graham to Hawthorn's Luke Hodge, saying he was a "really hard, inside, contested-ball winner who probably spreads a bit harder than Hodge."[19]

By the time the national draft came around in late November, Graham's stock had dropped considerably.[19] While the Herald projected Graham in the range 15 to 25, Fox Sport's Ben Waterworth was less confident, citing injuries and poor kicking as reasons for a late second or third round projection.[4][11] ESPN's Christopher Doerre also had Graham as likely second or third round pick while he was ranked 42nd in Draft Central's projections.[16] He was projected to be selected at pick 23 and pick 24 by AFL Media's Callum Twomey and The Age's Emma Quayle respectively in their draft day phantom drafts.[20][21]

AFL career[edit]

2017 season[edit]

Graham was drafted by Richmond with the club's second pick and the fifty third selection overall, the last pick of the 3rd round, in the 2016 AFL national draft.[22] In the weeks following the draft, Richmond recruiting manager Matthew Clarke cited Graham's defensive running as a key reason for his selection in addition to his on-ball prowess.[23]

He trained under a limited program in the 2017 pre-season due to the effects of hamstring tendinitis.[24][25] Graham remained in the clubs injury rehab ground until early March as a result of the injury, failing to play in the club's JLT Community Series campaign.[26] He suffered a further injury setback that month when he fractured his ankle during a club training session.[27] In late June he was removed from the club's long-term injury list and played his first half of football with the club's reserves side in the VFL.[28] Graham sustained a further ankle injury after one half of VFL play in mid-July. He did not return to the match after a first half in which he recorded a stunning 21 disposals, 14 contested possessions, eight clearances and six tackles.[29] He recovered from the injury after missing one match and returned to VFL football in late July.[30]

He finally made his senior debut in round 22 of the 2017 AFL season in an away match against Fremantle at Domain Stadium. He kicked a goal in the match, along with recording 13 disposals and laying a game-high 11 tackles.[31] In doing so he equaled Rupert Wills' VFL/AFL record for the most tackles recorded on debut.[32] He kicked another goal the following week, before lining up in Richmond's qualifying final where he laid six tackles in the first quarter and finished with an equal club-high nine tackles for the match.[33][34] By his fifth match he was lining up in Richmond's Grand Final side, being the youngest player in either of the Richmond or Adelaide teams.[35] After Crows midfielder Rory Sloane kicked two goals and was influential in the first half, Graham was tasked with a run-with role on him for the remainder of the match. Sloane failed to score again and recorded only six disposals from that point forward.[36] When Richmond defeated the Crows by 48 points, Graham became a 2017 premiership player. He finished the match with a game-high three goals as well as 16 disposals and was one of only six players from either side to receive votes for the best on ground award, the Norm Smith Medal.[37]

2018 season[edit]

Graham warms up ahead of the round 10, 2018 AFL match between Richmond and St Kilda

During the 2017/18 off-season Graham received life membership to Richmond for his premiership-winning appearance the previous year, despite having played just five AFL matches.[38] He also signed a new two-year contract extension, seeing him secured to the club until the end of the 2020 season.[39] When the new season began Graham found himself right back into the Richmond best-22, making his season debut in round 1's opening match against Carlton. Graham repeated the negating role he had been used in during the grand final the previous year, this time being switched onto Patrick Cripps in an attempt to quell the young star's influence after half-time. He laid a game-high 13 tackles in Richmond's 26-point win and recorded 106 pressure points, the sixth most by any player in the history of the statistic.[40] In round 4 Graham set a then season-best mark with 17 disposals but attracted a report for rough conduct against the Brisbane Lions's Dayne Zorko when he attempted to push Zorko out of a kick and hit him with a forearm to the head.[41][42] The incident was graded by the AFL's match review officer as intentional conduct with low impact to the head and Graham was subsequently offered a one match ban.[43] Graham and the club elected to challenge that decision however, taking the case to the AFL's Tribunal on the grounds that the hit was careless and not intentional.[44][45] The appeal was unsuccessful and Graham's one-match suspension was upheld.[46] To that point he was oddsmakers' sixth favourite to take the league's Rising Star award despite not having been nominated and was ruled ineligible to win the award as result of the suspension incurred.[47] At the end of round 4 he was ranked number one at the club and third in the league for pressure acts applied per game.[47] Graham returned immediately to senior football after serving that suspension and recorded a career high 24 disposals the following week in a 77-point victory over Fremantle.[41] He received one vote in the Coaches Association Player of the Year tally for that performance in which he also laid seven tackles and kicked his first goal of the season.[48] To the end of round 8 Graham was ranked fifth in the competition for average pressure points applied per game (62.4).[49] Despite that form Graham was omitted from the club's round 12 side to take on Port Adelaide.[50] He did not play at VFL level that weekend either, in what would effectively serve as a one-week rest before he was recalled to AFL football in round 13.[51] There he would equal his season-best tally of 13 tackles, this time recorded in a win over Geelong in wet conditions at the MCG.[52] Graham recorded 17 disposals in the first three quarters of his side's win over Adelaide in round 16 before suffering a match-ending dislocated shoulder while tackling opposition midfielder Myles Poholke.[53] Scans would reveal he had sustained some anterior labral damage in the dislocation and club officials confirmed he was set to miss up to a month of football despite avoiding the need for immediate surgery to repair the joint.[54][55] Graham made his return from injury in round 21's win over Gold Coast, recording 19 disposals and a match-high 60 pressure acts in the 74-point victory.[56] He earned praise from Damien Hardwick for that performance with the coach saying Graham was "such an important player to us. His pressure points are high [and] he makes other players around him better".[57] In the club's final match of the regular season, Graham recorded 20 disposals and kicked an equal career-high three goals, all of which came in the first quarter of that win over the Western Bulldogs.[58] He also received a two thousand dollar fine from the AFL's Match Review Officer for striking opposition defender Dale Morris during the match.[59] Graham finished the regular season averaging 62 pressure points per game, good for third best in the league behind only Dayne Zorko and league-leader Devon Smith.[60] He had a relatively quiet final series, kicking a goal and laying seven tackles in the club's qualifying final win over Hawthorn but recording only 15 disposals in total across that match and the club's shock preliminary final loss to Collingwood.[61][41] Graham finished the year having played 18 matches and kicking six goals.[41]

2019 season[edit]

Graham spent the early part of the 2018/19 off-season rehabbing from shoulder surgery required to fully repair the joint he had dislocated in the later part of the 2018 season.[62][63]

Statistics[edit]

Statistics are correct to the end of the 2018 season[41]
Legend
 G  Goals  B  Behinds  K  Kicks  H  Handballs  D  Disposals  M  Marks  T  Tackles
Season Team No. Games G B K H D M T G B K H D M T
Totals Averages (per game)
2017 Richmond 34 5 5 0 30 40 70 9 35 1.0 0.0 6.0 8.0 14.0 1.8 7.0
2018 Richmond 34 18 6 3 143 107 250 31 107 0.3 0.2 7.9 5.9 13.9 1.7 5.9
Career 23 11 3 173 147 320 40 142 0.5 0.1 7.5 6.4 13.9 1.7 6.2


Honours and achievements[edit]

Team

Junior

  • Larke Medal: 2016
  • Under 18 All-Australian: 2016
  • Under 18 South Australia captain: 2016
  • Under 16 South Australia captain: 2014

Family[edit]

His father Jeff Graham played 77 matches with West Torrens and Woodville West-Torrens in the SANFL between 1987 and 1992.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Talking Tigers, episode 21, 2018". Richmond FC. Telstra Media. 1 August 2018. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  2. ^ Turner, Matt (26 November 2016). "New Tiger Jack Graham joins Rooster teammate Oleg Markov at Richmond". The Advertiser. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  3. ^ "NAFC PLAYERS in the AFL". North Adelaide Football Club. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Argent, Peter (25 October 2016). "AFL draft combine: SA hopeful Jack Graham, North Adelaide". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  5. ^ Argent, Peter (1 July 2015). "Grassroots: SA footy round-up". InDaily. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Young defender to train with Magpies". Collingwood FC. Telstra Media. 7 December 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b Twomey, Callume (4 June 2016). "U18s: Graham leads SA to commanding win over Allies". AFL Media. Telstra Media. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  8. ^ Capel, Andrew (2 June 2016). "SANFL high performance manager Brenton Phillips wants greater exposure for SA draft prospects". The Advertiser. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
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  11. ^ a b Waterworth, Ben (19 November 2016). "The 21 late-pick bargains clubs must consider in the 2016 AFL draft". Fox Sports. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  12. ^ Capel, Andrew (29 June 2016). "SA captain Jack Graham claims Larke Medal as Croweaters' title quest falls just short". The Advertiser. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
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  14. ^ "SA's Graham wins U18 Medal". Adelaide FC. Telstra Media. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
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  54. ^ "Round 17 injury update". Richmond FC. Telstra Media. 9 July 2018. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  55. ^ Phelan, Jennifer (9 July 2018). "Trio of flag Tigers could miss a month". AFL Media. Telstra Media. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  56. ^ Greenberg, Tony (12 August 2018). "Graham back in strong style". Richmond FC. Telstra Media. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  57. ^ Stafford, Andrew (11 August 2018). "Another 10 from Jack won't be enough against Bombers: Hardwick". The Age. Fairax Media. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  58. ^ Pierik, Jon (25 August 2018). "Tigers hold on: Richmond's 18th win one almighty scare". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
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External links[edit]