Richmond footy boss Neil Balme says the club are wary of the media potentially taking advantage of young small forward Jack Higgins.
Higgins has been a breath of fresh air in his debut season for both the Tigers and the AFL fraternity with his entertaining interviews and his general youthful exuberance.
The 19-year-old inked a two-year contract extension after an energetic start to his Richmond career, and while the club wants the teenager to continue to be himself, Balme is cautious of not exploiting Higgins to too many media commitments.
“A couple of his teammates keep saying: ‘are you ok with this? Be careful of what you do’. That’s the best control you can have,” Balme told SEN Mornings.
“We have to protect him because he’s such an easy mark for TV and radio because they think: ‘oh this bloke will say something’.
“Which is fine, but we just have to control it a little bit so he’s not seen to be as soon as we want someone to say something stupid we’ll go and talk to him. We have to be a little bit careful of that.
“He’s bright enough to work that out. He’s happy to be seen that way, but we do protect him a little bit.
“Everyone kind of knows him, so immediately we worry about that and how do we protect him. He really does bring another dimension. He’s a terrific kid; really enthusiastic and wears his heart on his sleeve.”
Balme revealed the club delayed the announcment of Higgins’ re-signing, as he was recieivng a lot of media attention at the time.
“We’re really pleased that he’s re-signed,” he said.
“He signed a little while ago, but we didn’t make it a big thing because he was getting so much press.
“We’re really pleased to have him.”
Last season’s Morris Medallist has played 11 games, booting eight goals, and recorded a career high 25 disposals in last week’s win over Adelaide.
Richmond take on Greater Western Sydney tomorrow night at Spotless Stadium.