Jack Riewoldt of the Tigers reacts after the final siren of the round 20 AFL match against the Magpies.
Jack Riewoldt of the Tigers reacts after the final siren of the round 20 AFL match against the Magpies. JULIAN SMITH

Tigers recruit backs Riewoldt as leader

RICHMOND recruit Dion Prestia has given new teammate Jack Riewoldt a resounding endorsement, claiming the star forward should "definitely" be part of the Tigers' leadership group.

Prestia revealed that the Tigers' playing group hadn't voted on its team leaders for 2017 yet, but Riewoldt has already put his hand up for a leadership role, while Dustin Martin is also being considered for a shock promotion.

Prestia, who was traded from the Gold Coast Suns to sign a five-year deal with Richmond last year, hinted that the Tigers' leadership group wouldn't change too much from the five-man team it had in 2016, although Brett Deledio will need to be replaced.

But Prestia said Riewoldt, who was dumped from the group ahead of the 2014 season, deserved another chance to lead in an official capacity following an impressive and influential pre-season.

"I know a lot of people say he might be a sook, but he's just so competitive and just wants to win," Prestia told SEN.

"I did a little bit with him in rehab when I first got there and it was just obvious that he just wanted to help you. Everything that he did, whether it was just a small five-minute task or session, everything was just done really well.

"He's pretty intense but he's great to train with."

Richmond's 2016 leadership group was led by skipper Trent Cotchin and supported by Deledio, Ivan Maric, Alex Rance and Shane Edwards.

Prestia said Maric, Rance and Edwards had all impressed him since arriving at Punt Road and deserved to be retained in the group.

The ex-Sun also revealed that the Tigers might unveil a fresh, attacking game plan in 2017, after Damien Hardwick's methodical, keepings-off approach drew external criticism last year.

"Compared to 2016 I think it'll be a bit of a different game style," Prestia said.

"There's been a lot of changes, I feel, at the club in the last off-season player-wise and also coaching-wise.

"I don't think it'll change a whole lot, I think every team's pretty similar in a game style. But I think we'll be a lot more aggressive, I feel, this year. That's what I've picked up from last year."

Prestia, now living in Richmond, said he had quickly settled into Melbourne life after choosing the Tigers as his preferred club last year.

The 24-year-old attracted interest from Hawthorn, Essendon and Melbourne during the 2016 AFL exchange period, but chose the Tigers because they were a "better fit at the time".

"Obviously Dustin and Trent are great players, but also their midfielders probably don't get a lot of notice like Anthony Miles and Shaun Grigg. Reece Conca's had a really good pre-season," Prestia said.

"It was more that it was there but they probably didn't perform as well as what they'd like to last year. And I agree I think they underperformed, as they'd played finals the last three years before that, so I was confident they'd be able to bounce back.

"I think our midfield is pretty strong don there and also having Jack Riewoldt at one end and Alex Rance at the other end - they're two superstars."