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Richmond forward disappointed but understands Coleman-Jones, Chol exits


Richmond veteran Jack Riewoldt admits he is disappointed by Callum Coleman-Jones’ decision to leave the club.

The 22-year-old ruck-forward is being heavily linked with a move to North Melbourne after finding regular game time with the Tigers hard to come by.

As a forward, Coleman-Jones has had to bide his time behind Riewoldt and Tom Lynch while his opportunities in the ruck are set to take a hit in 2022 with Toby Nankervis set to reunite with Ivan Soldo who missed 2021 with a knee injury.

Riewoldt says he would love to see the talented youngster stay at Punt Road, but can see why he is looking for more opportunity elsewhere.

“He’s asking for a trade. North Melbourne is the name that’s being bandied around,” Riewoldt said on SEN’s Jack & Painey.

“It’s disappointing because we want to keep him because we feel like he’s an important part of our future.

“He looks at opportunity and doesn’t see it at the Tiges at the moment. In fairness, we’ve got Soldo returning off an ACL, he’s a premiership ruckman, Toby Nankervis is clearly our number one ruck, then myself and ‘Lynchy’ as key forwards.

“‘CJ’ got a few games late in the year, but Dustin (Martin) wasn’t playing. Does he fit into a forward line with the three of us in there plus him? It’s a question that no doubt he’s asked himself a lot.

“It will be disappointing to see him go and we’re still going to really push hard to try and change his mind. He’ll be a very good player.

“Currently it looks like it won’t be with us which is disappointing.”

If placed in the same position, Riewoldt insists he would act in a similar fashion to Coleman-Jones so cannot begrudge him a move that may benefit his career.

The Sturt product was drafted in 2017 and has tallied just nine games in yellow and black.

“It’s hard. He’s at a point of his career where he’s coming into his fifth season and as a key forward that’s when you want to start to really hit your straps,” he added.

“I take my Richmond hat off and I can sort of see why he wants to go out there and play as much AFL as he can. If I was in his position and I wanted to go and ply my trade and had blokes in front of me that maybe didn’t look like they were going to be moving aside, I’d want it as quick as I could as well.

“So you can’t knock him with that.

“It’s really disappointing that he’s going to be leaving us because we feel like we put a lot of hard work into him, but that’s the industry and that’s football and it is what it is.”

The Tigers are also expected to lose Mabior Chol to the Gold Coast Suns.

The 24-year-old, also a ruck-forward, has been at the club since 2016 but has opted to depart after 31 games.

Riewoldt suggests it’s a financial situation that has Chol on the way out the door, referencing a number of players at other clubs that are moving on due to salary cap restrictions in these COVID times.

“Maybe the club had factored in that one of them (Coleman-Jones or Chol) was going to leave, but for both to leave is disappointing,” he said.

“Mabior is an unrestricted free agent so it really comes down to dollars, unfortunately.

“You’ve only got to look at the names that are not being re-contracted. Daniel Talia, Hamish Hartlett is another one still good enough to play AFL football, Sam Reid, Jordan Dawson, even the talk around Luke Parker, that goes down to the wire just due to the fact that a lot of sides are tight with the cap at the moment.

“Whilst you could say go and pay this person this amount of money just to get them to your football club, the cap and keeping the cap clean and under for the next few years still comes down to this year.

“You’ve got to look at Collingwood last year. Clearly had issues with their salary cap and had to get rid of Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson. They might find themselves in a similar boat again this year and we still don’t have a contract on Scott Pendlebury, so this is the reason these contracts are going down to the wire.

“We’re seeing good players with good footy in them getting pushed out. There are a few bargains that can be snapped up by teams who have some salary cap room.”


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