Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The next player of African descent will hit the turf this weekend in the final home and away round for 2016 when Richmond’s Mabior Chol debuts. A product of the Brisbane Lions Academy originally, Chol was snared by the Tigers with pick 30 in last year’s Rookie Draft. Along with Reuben William (Brisbane) and Gach Nyuon (Essendon), Chol was the third rookie from Sudan to be selected in that same draft.
They joined Majak Daw (North Melbourne) and Aliir Aliir (Sydney) as players from Sudan to be on AFL team lists. With Chol’s selection, only Essendon’s Gach Nyuon is yet to make his senior debut.
Chol caught the football world’s attention during this year’s NAB Challenge with encouraging performances against both Hawthorn and Fremantle. Whilst not gaining huge possession counts, his marking and goal kicking skills were shown and he pleased many at Richmond and the media with his potential. There was early talk of a possible debut back in Round One this year, though he has had to wait instead until the final round.
Playing for Richmond’s VFL team this year, Chol has averaged just under 10 kicks per game, almost 3 marks per game and over 2 tackles across his 15 appearances.
Like many of his fellow Sudanese players, Chol’s journey saw his family flee war-torn South Sudan when he was just two years old and resettled in Egypt before making the journey to Australia where he took up junior football in Brisbane. He has only been playing the game for eight years, yet his natural athleticism and determination have combined with his learned skills to make him a key part of Tiger plans into the future.
Whilst Chol may not get enough time to secure the future, he certainly has the ability to impress as part of Richmond’s revamped forward line for 2017 as the club tries to address the shortfalls of the 2016 campaign.
Picture: Richmond Football Club
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