When 19-year-old Dustin Martin extended his arm and shoved North's robust defender Michael Firrito backwards in a textbook execution of the ''don't argue'' last Sunday, former Richmond coach Danny Frawley was struck by the similarity between Martin and another powerful and highly accomplished midfielder from the recent past.
The player that came to Frawley's mind wasn't any famed Tiger of old or anyone he coached at Richmond.
It was a player whose career began in the early '90s, when Frawley was captain of the Saints, and which spanned more than 300 games; it was Mark Ricciuto.
Like a teenage Ricciuto, Martin is remarkably strong and physically powerful for a player of his youthful vintage. 'Roo' was an expert at breaking tackles with a stiff arm, and was so capable of kicking goals from the midfield that he finished his career in the goal square and led the Crows' goal-kicking.
The parallel that Frawley and others see between Martin and the young version of Ricciuto is based on a mix of attributes - strong bodies, speed, overhead marking prowess - and in Martin's unusual physical presence and ability to overpower more seasoned opponents, as the Adelaide champ did.
''He's got the power build from an early age, too,'' said Frawley of Martin.
''They play tall by taking the contested mark, and they're good on the ground.''
Martin, 187 centimetres, has the strength/speed combination of Ricciuto, covering 20 metres in under three seconds.
Ricciuto's career included a premiership (1998), Brownlow Medal (2003) and, most impressively, eight All-Australian jumpers. Martin shares Roo's goal sense, having booted nine goals in five games while averaging 25 touches.
Should he maintain the rage, the precocious Tiger cub may go close to matching the 19-year-old Ricciuto's feat of making All-Australian in his second season (Martin turns 20 in June), although the club sees him as far from fully formed, with much to prove and improve.
Both Chris Judd and Joel Selwood - universally regarded as the best performed teens of the past decade - had to wait until their third season before winning selection in the AFL's team of the year. Martin, at this stage, is arguably in the same weight-for-age company as that pair, having finished fourth in Richmond's best and fairest in his first season.
Frawley observed that Martin and Ricciuto, country lads (Martin from Castlemaine, Roo from Waikerie, South Australia) who didn't resile from physical confrontation, were both ''pretty earthy''. The ex-coach added that the Tiger hordes had a particular fondness for strongmen. ''They love tough players''.
Few Richmond players would match or better the Tiger wunderkind for physical presence, which says something both about the age of the Richmond list (very young) and Martin's rare maturity.
''Jack Riewoldt's got a physical presence the way he goes after the ball,'' said Frawley. ''Martin has, he's so strong over the ball.''
Ricciuto would not draw comparisons between himself and Martin, but he liked what he'd seen of the midfielder. ''He's obviously not scared either,'' said the Adelaide great.
''He's obviously not intimidated by anyone.''
The Roo was especially impressed by Martin's prowess at winning the contested ball in close. ''He'll be a midfielder who can go forward, but he'll be majority in the midfield.
''He's an in-and-under, hard in-and-under player and that's where he does his best work, inside, and he can obviously kick goals as well. They're the best type of midfielder you can have, the most important type of midfielder is a goalkicking midfielder, a hard goalkicking midfielder. There's no more important things at the moment than winning contested balls at stoppages and kicking goals in the midfielder and he does both of them.''
Richmond assistant coach Justin Leppitsch said this week of Martin's contested abilities: ''You talk about knowing how to manoeuvre your body in contested sorts of situation, he just knows that better than anyone. And it doesn't seem to matter about the size of the opposition either, he just knows how to do it well.''
While the Tigers will be wary of the hype that may surround Martin as a boy wonder at a club that's had scant success, they aren't greatly concerned about Martin's head swelling, despite the clip he received in pre-season from coach Damien Hardwick for showing up unfit.
''I don't think Dustin would get carried away with much,'' Leppitsch said, describing Martin as ''a very quiet character'' who eschewed the media. ''He just plays true football.''
And, like the Roo, he plays it hard.