Sport

Towering Tiger

By Deniliquin Pastoral Times

He was meant to be easy to spot because of his trademark mullet, but Richmond Tigers star Ivan Maric surprised fans by turning up to his Deniliquin Rams one-off appearance with a much shorter hairdo on Saturday.

But it was still easy to pinpoint the AFL product among the sea of Deniliquin and Tongala players at Hardinge St oval.

At 200cm tall, he towered over other players on the field, which intrigued footy lovers on the sidelines, some dubbing him ‘‘a beast’’.

Maric played in the ruck and the Deniliquin goal square for much of the match, and regularly took time out of play to provide advice to the teammates he met only one hour before hitting the oval.

Deni Rams president Clint Free said the appeal of seeing Maric in action brought a massive crowd.

‘‘We had plenty through the gate and there were even a couple of AFL development coaches, plus AFL Goulburn Murray general manager Jamie Macri.

‘‘By the last quarter Ivan was tapping it right into the hands of our players without even looking at them. It was amazing to see that kind of talent.’’

Maric was not the only AFL player turning heads at Rams oval on Saturday. He was joined by former teammates Shaun Griggs, who retired due to injury earlier this year, and Deni’s own Sam Lloyd who was traded to the Western Bulldogs from Richmond in last year’s post-season AFL trade period.

The pair watched Maric in action from a corporate event upstairs in the Rams clubrooms.

‘‘The corporate event upstairs was huge, it was sold out pretty quickly,’’ Mr Free said.

‘‘We also had plenty of people stick around late at night, with a fair few of the Tonny boys staying later than usual for the Q&A.

‘‘We’d like to thank Ivan, Shaun and Sam for their time and would also like to thank all the extra volunteers on the day for helping make the day a big success.’’