Pingaring star Liam Baker signs two-year contract extension with Richmond despite strong interest from WA

Calvin SimsGreat Southern Herald
Richmond’s Liam Baker has signed a new contract with Richmond.
Camera IconRichmond’s Liam Baker has signed a new contract with Richmond. Credit: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos

Dual premiership player Liam Baker has signed a fresh contract with Richmond, opting to remain a Tiger amid significant interest from West Coast and Fremantle.

The hard-nosed Pingaring product put pen to paper last week, inking a two-year contract that will see him remain at Punt Road until the end of 2024.

The 24-year old burst onto the scene after being taken at pick 18 via the WAFL in the 2018 rookie draft and has become a mainstay in the Tigers’ line-up, playing 83 games across five seasons.

Baker finished equal-second with Shai Bolton in last year’s Jack Dyer Medal count, polling 45 votes across the season in the Tigers’ best and fairest award.

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Tigers coach Damien Hardwick was thrilled Baker, pictured, will remain at Punt Road.

“It was exciting, we sort of knew that was coming the last couple of weeks,” Hardwick said.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Liam Baker of the Tigers looks to pass the ball during the round 18 AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Richmond Tigers at Marvel Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
Camera IconRichmond’s Liam Baker looks for options. Credit: Daniel Pockett/AFL photos

“He’s just one of the guys that you love to have in your side ... capable of playing a variety of positions and just wonderful to coach.

“What he’s been able to do, and the way he’s played the game is really what a Richmond man is all about ... the desperation, the fingertips on an opponent, the ability to win a crucial contest.

“That’s why I would have loved him to sign a 10-year contract.

“He’s so important to the way we go, both on and off the field ... a great player to have at our footy club.

“He’s so well-loved, not only by our fans but the people of our footy club.

“That’s what makes him a special player and one we’re incredibly happy to have stay.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Liam Baker of the Tigers 
 celebrates a goal  during the round 16 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the West Coast Eagles at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 03, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Camera IconRichmond’s Liam Baker celebrates with Shai Bolton. Credit: Darrian Traynor/AFL photos

Tigers general manager Blair Hately was delighted to announce Baker’s fresh signature.

“Liam is an important player for us both on and off the field,” Hately said. “He is very popular among players, staff, and coaches, an excellent contributor to our culture, and an important part of our future.”

“Liam has worked extremely hard since coming to the club as a rookie selection from WA and has been rewarded with individual and team success.

“We look forward to watching Liam continue to grow as a footballer, leader, and person across the next two years and beyond.”

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