Richmond’s Sam Lloyd pushed his claims for an AFL grand final berth with a best-on-ground performance in the Tigers’ heartbreaking VFL grand final loss to Port Melbourne.
Ben Lennon missed a set shot from just outside the 50m arc after the siren to hand Port a stunning 11.8 (74) to 10.10 (70) win in front of a crowd of 17,159 fans at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Lloyd was awarded the Norm Goss Medal for his 35-possession performance, with Anthony Miles, Corey Ellis and Shaun Hampson also influential.
“I was surprised when my name got called out … I’d trade it in any day for a premiership medallion,” Lloyd said.
Playing predominantly as a midfielder, the 27-year-old also had 10 clearances, laid nine tackles and kicked a goal in a game the Tigers led by 13 points before a stunning resurgence by the Boroughs in the dying minutes.
Lloyd has made eight AFL appearances this season, with the last coming in round 16 which was also his 50th career match at senior level.
“I’m going to prepare like I’m a chance, you never know what could happen,” he said of the prospect of earning a senior recall.
“I feel like I’ve put my hand up.
“I’ve been pushing to get into the midfield at AFL level for a couple of years now.
“My fitness level has really improved over the last couple of years … and if I get the opportunity I’m sure I could do something.”
Richmond senior coach Damien Hardwick was on hand to watch the match, as was skipper Trent Cotchin, who will find out on Monday if he will face a ban for his high hit on Greater Western Sydney’s Dylan Shiel.
Hampson, Ellis and Shai Bolton were the emergencies for the preliminary final.
Hampson had 40 hitouts and took seven marks and Ellis had 23 possessions and laid seven tackles in the grand final loss.
Bolton started brightly with two first-quarter goals but faded in the second half.
“Shai has got a lot of excitement about him hasn’t he?” said Tigers VFL coach Craig McRae.
“He showed what he’s capable of when he got us off to a great start, but part of his challenge at AFL level is to be consistent with that effort.
“He’s an 18-year-old kid and he’s on the rise.”
Reece Conca (21 disposals), Jayden Short (20), Connor Menadue (20 touches and two goals) and Ben Griffiths (three goals) were also prominent.