Connor uncovered

Connor Menadue3Talented Tiger prospect Connor Menadue was a special guest on this week’s episode of the Club’s official podcast ‘Talking Tigers’, and he spoke on a broad range of topics surrounding the first year of his league career at Richmond. Here’s what he had to say . . .

On his first two games of senior league football:
“It’s been a great experience. I got a bit longer this week (against Port Adelaide last Sunday), which was unfortunate for Ty (Vickery, who went off with a knee injury). It just gave me an opportunity, and I tried to step up. I thought I held my own for the game, and it was just great to get another taste of it.”

On the inspirational, long set-shot goal he kicked in the last quarter:
“I got told by a few players to back myself, and if I can kick it, go for the goal. I went back and thought about it and, yeah, I thought I could make the distance. So I backed myself and went back and kicked it. It was a great experience. I won’t forget it . . . just watching it sail, and then just get over the line. Then everyone starting running in and congratulating me, and that was just great.”

On his senior debut v Collingwood in Round 7:
“I got a call-up Sunday morning, about quarter past 10. I’d just woken up as per normal, had some breakfast, a shower, and was not really expecting too much . . . And then I got a call from ‘Dimma’ (coach Damien Hardwick). He just said, ‘Got great news, you’re playing your first game’. Then it all started going a bit crazy . . .”

On playing as the ‘sub’ in his first two games:
“You’ve got to prepare the same, because if something happens, like an injury, you’ve got to come on straight away. So you’ve got to be mentally prepared, and you’ve got to keep warm by having a kick at the breaks and just going for little runs . . .”

On his ideal playing position within the team:
“I think my running ability is my strength, and then to go up forward and maybe kick some goals, or down back if they need me. But I think the wing and half-forward would mostly be my position.”

On playing at Tigerland with his former Western Jets teammate Corey Ellis:
“When Richmond called my name out (with its second pick at last year’s National Draft), I knew Corey was already at Richmond (having been selected with the Club’s first pick). It makes it a little bit easier that you already know someone going there, and it’s a little bit more special that you get to share this experience with someone you’ve already played footy with at TAC Cup level, and you get to go through the journey together. I think that’s really great.”

On his playing mentors at the Club:
“My mentor is Brandon Ellis, and Taylor Hunt’s sort of half-half. He’s helping me, but also getting help off ‘Brando’ with structures and things like that. I got to choose Brandon, and Taylor might have chosen Brandon as well. It helps that we all play on the wing, or we’re all running sort of players.”

On gaining VFL experience before receiving an AFL call-up:
“I think that was really beneficial. I’d never played senior before, so the step-up – the bigger bodies and even quicker pace – I think it was a good lead-up into AFL. I got to feel the contact of big bodies, get used to the game style, and just know where to run, and the structures.”

On the surprise of receiving an AFL call-up so early in the season:
“I didn’t think I would be playing this early. Got to be honest, I thought maybe if I was playing well in the VFL, I might get a game maybe towards the end of the year some time, maybe one or two . . .”

On reassessing his goals:
“Now, it’s just to try and play as many games as possible and hold my spot in the team. And then, just continue to grow confidence and to keep backing myself every game I play. Also, just to keep playing my role for the team is a big thing.”

On playing in Saturday night’s Dreamtime game:
“That’d be a great experience. To wear the different jersey, and to play in front of a crowd like 80,000 or so, would be a great experience. I’d love to be a part of it all and just enjoy the moment.”

On modelling his game on other league players:
“(Hawthorn pair) Bradley Hill and Isaac Smith are very fast and running players, so I’ve looked at their games a little bit. And then, I guess, you’ve got to surround your game a bit around (Fremantle’s Nathan) Fyfe. He’s turning into, they say, the perfect player. So, mostly the running players, but then, even Fyfe, how he’s strong over the ball and in the air.”