Pingaring kid turned Tiger cub’s bid for Grand Final success

Zach RelphCountryman
Richmond Tigers youngster and Pingaring product Liam Baker.
Camera IconRichmond Tigers youngster and Pingaring product Liam Baker. Credit: Michael Wilson / AFL Photos / Getty Images

From a grain and sheep farm in WA’s Wheatbelt, to playing in front of more than 90,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground — it has been a meteoric rise for Liam Baker.

The 21-year-old Lake Grace-Pingrup Football Club product is poised to don the Richmond Tigers’ revered yellow and black guernsey in this Saturday’s AFL decider against Greater Western Sydney.

After debuting last year, Baker has played 18 games this season to solidify himself as one of Richmond’s top pressure forwards, kicking eight goals and averaging more than three tackles a game.

Baker was instrumental in the Tigers’ stirring preliminary final win over Geelong last Friday night.

The youngster collected 18 possessions, as Richmond rallied from a 21-point deficit at half-time to claim a 19-point victory and clinch a grand final berth, with coach Damien Hardwick praising the Tigers’ fighting effort.

“To where we’ve come from halfway through the year at seven (wins) and six (losses), to not lose a game since, it’s an incredible journey,” Hardwick said.

“We hope we get the result at the end of it, but whichever way we go, I’m incredibly proud of these blokes. Couldn’t be any prouder.”

Baker this month said he missed the family’s Pingaring farm, overseen by his parents Kim and Karen, “big time” and wanted to return after his football career concluded.

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