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A Familiar Face

Below is an article from the Herald Sun with a very familiar face appearing.

Ivan Soldo has been training with the Queanbeyan Tigers on and off for the past two seasons in an effort to realise a dream of playing at the highest level.

Remarkably he has played just a handful of trial games but the Richmond Tigers have placed him on their rookie list for season 2015.

We wish him the very best of luck this week when he plays in the TAC Cup in his first ever competition game and indeed hope that he develops into an outstanding AFL player in the future.

Article from the Herald Sun:

A NEW ruckman called Ivan has landed at Richmond.

Ivan Soldo, 18, the cousin of Tigers cult hero Ivan Maric, has been signed as a rookie despite never playing a game of footy in his life.

The giant 204cm, 106kg state basketballer will run out for his first Australian Rules match for the Northern Knights in the TAC Cup on Saturday.

He’ll play out the year in the under 18s before joining the Tigers full-time next year.

“I’ve never played before but I might as well give it my best shot,” Soldo said yesterday.

“My cousin Ivan helped me out a lot in getting through to Richmond, but it’s pretty random how it all happened.”

Soldo’s journey to Punt Rd began over Christmas when the talented Canberra-based basketballer told his cousin he was keen to try football.

Maric, who stands at 200cm, got the ball rolling by showing Tigers chiefs a photograph of Soldo, who has represented the ACT in basketball at under 16 and under 18 level.

Ivan Maric helped cousin Ivan Soldo land an AFL rookie spot. Picture: Tim Carrafa Source: News Corp Australia

Ivan Maric helped cousin Ivan Soldo land an AFL rookie spot. Picture: Tim Carrafa Source: News Corp Australia

“It’s all happened really quickly,” Maric said yesterday.

“He was talking to me about wanting to play footy … I showed the club a photo of us together and they couldn’t believe the size of the kid.

“So he came down (in May) and had a bit of a kick and did some training. He’s got the height and size but the most important thing was the attitude and work ethic that he showed. He just wants to learn.”

Because Soldo has never been registered at an Australian Rules club, Richmond was able to sign him as a category B rookie — the same rule used by Collingwood to secure US college basketball player Mason Cox last month.

The Croatian cousins share the same first name, but not the trademark Maric mullett.

“He’s still single so he’s looking for a wife,” quipped Maric, whose father and grandfather are also named Ivan.

“It’s a pretty popular Croatian name. If you go down to the Croatian club and call out Ivan probably about 50 blokes will turn around.”

Richmond football boss Dan Richardson said yesterday: “Ivan is very raw, and will be a long-term project, but he has all the attributes of an AFL player and we look forward to seeing what he can bring to the group.

“He has shown a great capacity and willingness to learn, and he has really thrown himself into training.

“Being able to gain some valuable playing experience in the TAC Cup will only fast-track his development, before he can join in a full pre-season with Richmond.

“And being able to go to his cousin for advice has also helped introduce him to the weekly demands of AFL footy.”

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