Exciting young key defender Ryan Garthwaite is ecstatic to be remaining a Tiger until the end of the 2020 AFL season.
The former Corowa local conquered a childhood dream last season when he made his debut in Richmond’s Round 13 win against Geelong at the MCG.
The 20-year-old capped off his memorable year by signing a contract extension in December.
“I want to be a Tiger for life,” Garthwaite told The Free Press.
“I signed a one-year deal half way through last year and then at the end of the year we had a chat again and I signed for another year, so it’s a two-year contract which is really good.”
Garthwaite said he has told his manager of his intentions to remain at the club that selected him with Pick 72 in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft.
When the news came through that there was going to be more discussion on his contract following the end of the 2018 season, the former Corowa Rutherglen Roo was over the moon.
“Being able to sign and just get it done, you’ve got that security over your head so you can just go out there and play footy and do what you love doing,” Garthwaite said.
“Having that security now and knowing where I am for at least another two years, and hopefully more in the future, makes me quite happy and is really satisfying.”
Garthwaite, who made his senior debut in the Ovens and Murray Football League as a 16-year-old, played two AFL matches last season after stringing together several solid VFL performances worthy of AFL selection.
“I was starting to feel really comfortable at VFL level,” he said.
“Getting my debut game and a game later on in the year definitely makes me feel more settled and more confident for when my next opportunity comes.
“Hopefully I can try and cement a spot.”
Richmond Head of Player Personnel and List Management Blair Hartley said the club is pleased to tie Garthwaite to the club for a further two seasons.
“We’re really pleased with Ryan’s development in his two years with us,” Hartley told richmondfc.com.au.
“Ryan’s a talented player and while we believe he has a long future with us, he’s already shown us he’s capable at AFL level.
“Ryan works incredibly hard and takes every opportunity to learn off his teammates, and we’re really excited to see him progress to play regular AFL games.”
Garthwaite said he wants to keep enhancing his game off the back of a 2018 season that served as his “growth year”.
“My main goal is to just keep improving,” he said.
“(I want to) keep learning off the coaches and players, keep getting better and then hopefully string a few more games together.
“You can never stop getting better. We want to be the best at what we do so that’ll be my goal.
“I’m not going to put a number on how many games I want to play, I just want to let that unfold throughout the year, keep playing my role and doing for the club what I have to in order to be successful – and keep enjoying it.”
Garthwaite’s pre-season training campaign has been partially limited, as he recovers from minor ankle surgery that forced him on crutches for five days in the off-season.