While looking to bring a "new flavour" to the AFL himself, new Richmond recruit Mykelti Lefau is hoping he can be the trailblazer who opens the door for more New Zealand and Pasifika prospects hoping to make their name in Aussie Rules football.

Lefau's journey of perseverance - having worked his way back from an ACL rupture last year - earned him a contract with the Tigers this week, with the 26-year-old promoted from Richmond's VFL program after making the switch from rugby to football just a decade ago.

Born to parents of New Zealand and Samoa backgrounds, Lefau believes there's "untapped talent" abroad that could follow his path with greater awareness of the game.

Lefau - a former Melbourne Storm development player - said belief is all that separates a New Zealanders or Pacific Islanders from reaching their goal, with his move to the AFL hopefully the first of many for his people.

"100 per cent. New Zealanders, Islanders, everyone. I want to be that guy that opens the pathway for them," Lefau said.

"There's so much untapped talent there. They've all got it, but they just need someone to believe in them to do it. It starts from grassroots. When you're just playing rugby at grassroots you won't see footy. I switched at 16.

"If they have the opportunity when they're much younger I reckon there'd be heaps more of a pool of players."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 27: Mykelti Lefau of the Tigers in action during the round one VFL match between the Richmond Tigers and Southport at The Swinburne Centre on March 27, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Lefau edged out East Perth product Mitch Schofield for the sole list position at Punt Road following an extensive summer stint under new coach Adem Yze.

Sunday's match practice against Melbourne saw both players contribute to the goals tally, with Lefau managing to get onto the field against the Demons' entire cast of senior players.

Having replaced now teammate Noah Balta for the fourth term, Lefau took his chance early to get onto the score sheet before flexing his physicality around the contest and in the air.

"I had so much fun," Lefau said of his first competitive hitout at the top level.

"I wasn't sure if I would get on or not, but I had the chance in that last quarter and I was just so excited. I was blowing man. I was so tired but I think that was sort of the nerves and the excitement just coming up."

On his heavy hit on Demon Jake Lever, Lefau said: "Honestly, I didn't even really think about it at the time. I didn't even see who it was. People were just telling me about it later. But yeah, I don't know. I just saw the ball, he was there, and I just had to do my job.

"All the boys they sort of they know what I can do in that sort of sense. I just try and bring that, to the best of my ability because I know I can do it. If anyone is there I'll just put my body on the line for the boys.

"You've got to be smart. That was a big learning curve for me as well, just how to get my body in the right position because you don't want to injure someone or get in trouble."

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With a contract signed for the season ahead, Lefau's goal is to now earn himself an AFL debut and subsequently cement himself a role in Yze's side.

He joins a new-look attacking unit alongside Balta, spearhead Tom Lynch, and fellow recruit Jacob Koschitzke, hoping to bring something new to the mix.

"Yeah, that's the goal," Lefau said of his aspirations for a debut.

"First and foremost was to get this contract, and then the next step now will be to try and make my debut. And then after that, it will just be finding consistency and to stay in the team.

"For the moment, (I'll probably start) in the forward line. That's where I've been training. I'll just worry about that, get that craft right, tick that box and then potentially open some doors for other positions maybe.

"You'll see the emotions on my face straightaway (if I kick a goal at AFL level). I remember when I came back in the VFL last year after my injury, I started crying when I saw my family. So if I saw all my family and friends after kicking a goal I'll get pretty emotional."

Overall, Lefau is just excited to be himself on the biggest stage.

"Just some excitement, something different, a little bit of a new flavour," he said of what he'll look to bring to the league.

"There's not too many profiles like me, I suppose. So just trying to bring some excitement and something fresh to the fans."

As for Schofield, the Western Australian won't take up a position with the Tigers' VFL program, instead returning to the WAFL for the season ahead.

While it was an unfortunate outcome for the promising young forward, Richmond recruiter Matt Clarke believes other clubs are sure to show some level of interest in Schofield in the coming months.

"He had a great preseason with us. He's learned a lot, got fitter, got stronger,"

"He's really excited about where his footy can take him. I expect that there'll be a few clubs having a look at what he can do back in the WAFL."

Lefau is likely to line up for the Tigers again next week for their Charity Shield clash with Collingwood in what will be another chance to press his case for a debut this year.