Jack Higgins knows how to make an impact on those around him.
Be it on or off the field, the Round 18 Rising Star nominee took no time revealing himself to teammates and footy fans alike.
While the majority of first-year players show their personalities slowly in an unfamiliar environment, Higgins was immersed within the Tiger playing group long before he graced the MCG for the first time.
“The first time I met him, we were going on a training camp to Tasmania,” teammate Kane Lambert told AFLPlayers.com.au.
“We picked him up at four o’clock in the morning to go for five days and the first thing he said was that he once faked a sickie to get out of school camp — he absolutely hated camping.
“He had his moments out there and on the third day he started questioning what we were doing, ‘we’re here to play footy so what are we doing this for?’ but he was laughing by the end.
“He was very scared of possums, who come out late at night, which nearly led to the nickname of possum sticking on day one because he was so petrified of them.”
Higgins has already become a fan favourite, with his goal celebrations, post-match interviews and telling teammates jokes at half-time almost catapulting him into cult-hero status.
The 19-year-old is a popular figure among his teammates and Lambert is enjoying having a first-year player be so relaxed immediately.
“It’s been really refreshing. He’s been himself from the start and fitted in really well,” Lambert said.
“He is the same behind closed doors. He doesn’t change anything in front of a camera — that’s just the way he is all the time and that’s why we love him. It’s just Jack Higgins.
“He’s full of energy, can’t sit still and will say a few words and move onto the next thing. I don’t think I’ve seen him not like that.”
You can hear the joy in Lambert’s voice when speaking about Higgins, such is the peculiar character of the young Tiger.
But, on a serious note, Lambert believes Higgins’ football abilities have been overlooked. In his debut season, the former Oakleigh Charger has played 13 games so far and shown great aptitude around goals. And, above all else, he’s bought into the Richmond ethos.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a work rate as high as his from a first-year player,” Lambert said.
“To come out of the TAC Cup system, where it’s predominately about promoting yourself, and to buy into the way we expect him to play and that’s not necessarily him getting the ball but putting himself in positions that benefits the team, he embraces that.
“He knows his time will come and he has a few spurts through the midfield every now and then but he accepts that he predominantly spends his time forward and plays his role.”
As far as quirks and superstitions go, Higgins is particular with his footy gear and considers it almost bad luck if things aren’t placed appropriately, although he’s more relaxed now.
But it’s the things he does around the club that entertain his teammates most and he’s become a shining light in an environment that helps all personalities prosper.
“The things he says, it takes you a few minutes to actually work out and believe what he said,” Lambert added.
“He’s full of laughs. I’ve never seen a first-year player stand up, stop the whole room and make them laugh.
“He has so much confidence in that regard and his best quality is being himself, Jack Higgins. There’s no fuss to him and he doesn’t try to be someone else — that’s why we love him.”