Deniliquin’s Sam Lloyd had an incredible AFL debut for Richmond on Friday night.SHAUN CONNOR April 15, 2014 3:52am
Tigers legend Kevin Bartlett presents Sam Lloyd with his jumper in front of the 24 year-old’s family and teammates before the match on Friday night.
Deniliquin’s newest AFL star, Sam Lloyd, lit up the MCG in an amazing debut match for Richmond on Friday night.
A massive 62,100-strong crowd of diehard Tigers and Magpies fans did little to intimidate the 24 year-old but instead spurred him on to be Richmond’s best player in a 16.14 (110) to 10.12 (72) loss.
A two-time best and fairest winner and a century goalkicker for the Deni Rams, small forward Lloyd put his cunning goal sense on show for all of Australia to see, finishing with three majors for the match, including the Tigers’ only two goals for the first half.
‘‘It would have been good if the result had have gone the other way, but I was pretty pleased with the way I played,’’ Lloyd said.
‘‘The atmosphere was amazing. The crowd was bigger than I thought it would be and I was a bit nervous to start off with, but after I kicked my first goal I started to settle a little bit.
‘‘My family was there and I had plenty of mates in the crowd .
In true fairytale style Lloyd’s first goal came with his first kick in AFL footy after Shane Edwards handballed over the top to him about 35m out late in the opening term and he ran into goal and split the middle. Tigers players rushed from everywhere to congratulate the new star.
Four goals down at the 11-minute mark of the second quarter, Richmond fans began to ask where Lloyd had been all their lives as he snapped a kick around his body under pressure from Collingwood’s Alex Fasolo and it bounced through for his second.
After taking an easy uncontested mark towards the end of the match, Lloyd lined up for the first set shot of his career 35m out on a tight angle, which he kicked with ease to bring his total to three goals from three chances.
Lloyd said he worked with Richmond’s Jake King on his forward line pressure on Thursday and it paid off with five tackles.
‘‘I really wanted to work on my pressure because the game’s changed and you’ve got to have pressure. Dimma (coach Damien Hardwick) is big on it,’’ Lloyd said.
‘‘When I first got down here, I started having a look at Kingy’s tapes, Shane Edwards’ tapes and even Luke Dalhaus’ (Western Bulldogs) tapes.’’
Lloyd started on the half-forward flank on Friday night but gathered some of his possessions further up the ground, and his strong marking belied that of his 180cm stature.
The talented 24 year-old, who was the talking point of Deniliquin, and possibly Richmond, on Friday night is now certain to hold his spot in the side when the Tigers travel to The Gabba on Thursday to take on the Brisbane Lions.
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