Kamdyn McIntosh credits VFL spell for Richmond finals heroics
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Kamdyn McIntosh credits VFL spell for Richmond finals heroics

Kamdyn McIntosh credits a mid-year VFL spell for his improved senior form which culminated in an unlikely three-goal cameo in Thursday night’s qualifying final win over Hawthorn.

The wingman, a member of Richmond’s premiership side last year, was dropped for three matches after this year’s round 13 win over Geelong, after a quiet three-match period in which he had failed to register 10 disposals in a game.

Sent back to the reserves, the Western Australian, primarily known as a defensive midfielder, was encouraged to win his own ball, and his figures have been better since returning in the round 18 game against St Kilda.

“It was a bit hard at the time, as it is for anybody going through that. But I just needed to work on a couple of things in my game, and just a little bit of confidence back I guess,” McIntosh told The Age.

“I went back there and I played a different role in the VFL, and I think it helped me go back into the seniors and keep that performance.

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“It was a bit more on-ball. Put me through the midfield, give me a look in there. I’ve never really played through the midfield before and in the VFL I played in the VFL all three games.

“I learnt a lot playing that role, just to be able to hunt the ball like 'Cotchy' [Trent Cotchin] and 'Dusty' [Dustin Martin] and Dion Prestia do, and just learn off them for three weeks which is really good for me.”

Kamdyn McIntosh celebrates one of his three goals against Hawthorn.

Kamdyn McIntosh celebrates one of his three goals against Hawthorn.

Photo: Eddie Jim

McIntosh had kicked just 16 goals from 72 AFL games before Thursday night, but kicked the first goal of the game against the Hawks, getting to three by early in the third term.

He couldn’t quite believe it.

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“A career-high for me, so pretty happy with that. The boys helped me out. It just goes to show, if you play the system and the way the team trains each week, you get reward for effort.

“The second and third ones, I was pretty pumped to get those, because I don’t really get a second or third one in a game.”

McIntosh said the pressure for spots at Punt Road had helped maintain standards as the Tigers vie for back-to-back premierships.

“You look at Brandon Ellis, Sam Lloyd, Connor Menadue’s playing good football in the VFL. Those boys are real stiff to not get a gig for tonight’s game. It just goes to show the competitiveness within the team is there.

“But we’re also really tight outside the club, and we don’t hold it against each other. We’re such good mates, and whoever plays at the end of the day, we accept that and we move on. We’re such a family here.”

The Tigers appeared to escape the Hawthorn game without serious injuries. Alex Rance was hobbling in the rooms, while Jack Graham was heavily iced, but both played out the game and are expected to be available for the preliminary final in a fortnight, in which the Tigers’ opponents will be one of West Coast, Collingwood, Sydney or Greater Western Sydney.

Coach Damien Hardwick has however kept the door ajar for Ellis to return for that next assignment, after he was dropped ahead of Thursday night’s game.