Leeton's Jacob Townsend targets AFL season-opener for Richmond debut

EARNING HIS STRIPES: Leeton's Jacob Townsend wants to make the most of his opportunity at Richmond after a move from GWS. Picture: Adam Trafford/AFL Media

EARNING HIS STRIPES: Leeton's Jacob Townsend wants to make the most of his opportunity at Richmond after a move from GWS. Picture: Adam Trafford/AFL Media

There’s 3000km and three months between Richmond’s pre-season training camp in Palm Cove, Queensland, and the start of the AFL season at the MCG in March.

But they’re two key points in Jacob Townsend’s mission to make the most of an opportunity at the Tigers.

An ankle injury has limited the former Leeton footballer’s training since he was traded by GWS, but he’ll be ready to throw himself into it in a couple of weeks. 

“It’s been a bit frustrating coming to a new club and you want to make a pretty good impression the way you attack the pre-season, but it’s been pushed back a bit,” Townsend said.

Townsend has renewed an association with former Giants assistant, Mark Williams, who’s on the Tigers’ coaching staff and was on the phone as soon as the trade was confirmed.

“I’ve sat down with him and we put together some pre-season targets to hit,” Townsend said.

“Hopefully I can achieve those and be there for the first pre-season game (against Fremantle in Mandurah, WA, on February 18).

“Hopefully I can play some good footy in the pre-season and the goal is to play the first round against Carlton.”

Townsend played 28 AFL games in four seasons with the Giants but was becoming starved of opportunity. 

The switch has been good for his confidence.

“When a club says there’s a contract for you, they’re obviously keen,” he said.

“And they’ve shown in the past, the Tigers, that they recruit players that fit their team well and they think can play in their side in certain positions.”

Richmond made it clear they were after an inside midfielder and Townsend’s role will be to win contested ball, lay tackles and help out players like Trent Cotchin.

“I just want to work on my hand-balling in tight and my clearance work… and in the AFL games I’ve played, I’ve been a bit inconsistent so I’ll try to improve there.”

The 22-year old has sound advice for the latest crop of Riverina rookies.

“Be patient, bide your time and when it comes, make the most of it – there’s always someone the following year getting drafted,” he said.