Former Richmond senior assistant coach Justin Leppitsch has revealed an insight into the club’s recent drafting style, saying they would not have taken Carlton midfielder Lochie O’Brien in the 2017 National Draft.
The Blues selected O’Brien with pick 10 and the wingman has struggled to break into the senior side under David Teague early in his career.
The 21-year-old picked up nine disposals in the club’s Round 1 loss to Richmond, his 37th game for the Blues, and was omitted the following week.
Andy Maher started the conversation, explaining that one of the criticisms Carlton fans have for the current coaching staff is the lack of tangible development in the likes of O’Brien and Paddy Dow.
“One of the broad knocks on the Carlton coaching staff has been their inability to develop the talent that has come in in recent times. That they haven’t had a great strike rate in bringing in highly credentialed draft talent and turning them into, in a rate of knots that would satisfy fans, good AFL players,” Maher told SEN’s Crunch Time on Saturday – before the club’s big win over Fremantle.
“The two that get focused a lot on now, and the draft around them has proven to be a rich one, are Paddy Dow and Lochie O’Brien.
“I think to a degree Carlton needs to take that on board that maybe they haven’t got enough out of the talent they’ve brought into the club in the last 10 years.”
Leppitsch offered up the possibility that they potentially just picked the wrong players in the draft.
Leppitsch explained that O’Brien was a player in Richmond’s draft range, they took Jack Higgins at pick 17, but they never considered him because he wasn’t a player that fit what the reigning premier wanted.
“Lochie O’Brien is a good example. I was at Richmond at the time and obviously he’s a very talented player and his highlight tape looked amazing, but I know the messaging out of Richmond was ‘he’s not for Richmond’,” Leppitsch said.
“Richmond has a particular type of player they like and look for. You look at some of them like scrappy-old Jason Castagna or Kamdyn McIntosh.
“With the ball, yes (O’Brien might be more talented than McIntosh as a wingman), but Richmond looks for more of a complete-type player and will take a bit less in one area, if it is offence, to have a good runner, someone who can get back and help out and win one-on-one contests.
“They rate that highly and O’Brien wouldn’t have fit that mould if you looked at his numbers, so (Richmond) would have said ‘he’s not for us’.
“The Tigers are very clear on the type of person they want. You bring him into the door and then you’re asking an assistant coach to fix the issues to make him a competitive AFL player.”
The Blues recorded their first win of the season on Sunday afternoon, beating Fremantle by 45 points.
O’Brien played in the club’s reserves game against Williamstown, kicking a goal.