Richmond Academy emerging talents Kobe Brown, Peter Clarke and Derek Smith joined in a Tigers’ training session during the Club’s visit to Mildura for the 2017 Australia Post AFL Community Camp.

The trio trained under the watchful eye of Richmond coach Damien Hardwick at the Irymple Football Club, who was impressed by the youngsters.

It came as a belated birthday present for Brown, who turned 16 last Monday.

Brown, Clarke and Smith all hail from the Sunraysia region, which is in Richmond’s Next Generation Academy Program zone.

Richmond’s Indigenous Community Relations Manager, Luke Murray, said the program provided another pathway to elite football for Indigenous and multicultural boys and girls.

“The academy is really important for AFL football in regards to bringing diversity to the game, as we’ve seen up here in Mildura which has a very strong multicultural community,” Murray said.

The group of 12 Tigers visited Mildura last Monday and Tuesday, traveling to local schools, hospitals and engaging with the community.

“It means a great deal to the Mildura community to have (Richmond’s) presence,” Murray said.

“For a long time, Mildura was a zone for the Tigers, so we do have a fairly large fan base up here in Sunraysia.

“We’ve seen a lot of fans the last two days, it’s certainly an area where we’ll maintain our presence and moving forward have a lot more to do up in the region.”

Richmond also supported AFL Victoria’s Kickstart and All Nations trials during the Sunraysia visit, which aimed to identify local talent.

“We had about 40 kids here today undertaking the trial for Kickstart,” Murray said.

“The Kickstart has been a proven AFL pathway program – I think there’s around seven or eight Indigenous boys from Victoria alone who have been drafted into the AFL system.”