Baker does Pingaring proud in Tigers flag triumph
Pingaring’s Liam Baker is soaking up every moment of being an AFL premiership player, according to his parents Kim and Karen, who returned home to their family farm on Monday.
Baker’s proud family watched on in the stands as he won his first premiership, producing an outstanding game in defence as Richmond thrashed Greater Western Sydney by 89 points in Saturday’s grand final at the MCG.
Baker, a rookie-listed player with the Tigers, completed the fairytale of winning a premiership in his second season with the club after being overlooked in two drafts while playing in the WAFL with Subiaco.
The 21-year-old had a terrific third term, which included a moment in the middle of the ground, where he won a contested ball and helped set up Norm Smith Medal hero Dustin Martin for a goal.
He finished with 12 disposals at 83 per cent efficiency, took four marks and had two score involvements and played his part in a brilliant Tigers defence that conceded only three goals.
Baker’s dad said it was such a wonderful feeling watching the grand final triumph.
“He is very jubilant,” Kim Baker said.
“It is a dream come true for kids like Liam.
“We let him do his own thing leading up to the game but seeing him out there, they are feelings I can’t explain.
Baker re-signed with the club for two more seasons this year and has played 22 games in his short but successful career, 19 coming in this premiership campaign.
Kim spoke of the support key senior figures around the Tigers had shown Liam during grand final week.
“He bumped into Damien Hardwick in the club and he reassured him of his place in the team,” he said. “He told him, of course I will pick you, I love the way you play.
“They really embrace everyone, it’s a great club and a great culture.”
In what will be a big week, Baker attended the Jack Dyer Medal on Tuesday and then head off on the Tigers’ end-of- season trip on Sunday.
Kim said his son had already confirmed he would be home on the farm in late October to help with harvest.
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails