Footy: The triumphs and troubles of Richo, Part 4

By Domenic Favata

2007- 2009

Everyone had thought that it was the end of Matthew Richardson. That he would just be goalsquare-bound and kick the odd 2-3 goals. But those who thought that he was gone had their words shoved right back down their  throat. Richardson continued to lead the Tiger brigade as he showed some of his career best form on the field. But Richo still continued to fight through injuries, and he would do this until the end. Some of these injury-plagued stories will inspire you and will make you see the courage in the great man. So as I go into the final chapter of Richo’s career, think to yourself of what it would be like to have Richo in your team.

Richo went into the 2007 season under an injury cloud. He had sustained a hamstring injury in Richmond’s loss to Geelong in the NAB cup. Some even doubted his fitness for Round 1 against the Blues. But he took to the field in what was an inspiring performance, but loss to Carlton. Further into the season against the Essendon Football Club, Richo earned the widespread respect of the football family by playing the game with a fractured eye socket and broken nose sustained only a week before in a collision with a teammate. He still managed to kick four goals, and what appeared to be a match-winning fifth until the umpire awarded a controversial free kick against him. Richo went off his head (so did I); he thought he had won the game for the Tigers, his passion shown through his despair. He ended up winning his first ever club best-and-fairest, beating young gun Nathan Foley by a single vote.

In 2008 Richo started the season off in a bang!; he came out and kicked 5 goals in a best on ground performance against Carlton in Round 1. He helped Richmond come from behind to win by 30 points in a highly spirited contest. Richardson had a career revival year with his transition to the wing, which so many fans have been waiting for. Richardson would go on to have a great season by coming a narrow 3rd place finish in the Brownlow and kicking 48 goals which place him in 11th in the all-time leading goalkicking.

Richo played in a quarter of Richmond’s games in his final season of 2009. Richardson came off the ground in the first quarter against North Melbourne on Anzac Day, complaining of glute soreness. He went back on in 3rd quarter but struggled. In round six, against Sydney, Richardson, after kicking his 800th career goal, partially tore his hamstring of the bone; he missed the remainder of the season, and the injury would ultimately lead to his retirement at the end of the 2009 season. In November 2009, after months of speculation, Richo called an end to his glittering career.

Matthew will be sorely missed by the not just Richmond, but by the football community. He had a great career and carried the life of Richmond. He will always breathe Yellow and Black and will go down in history as one of the best players to ever play the game. Hopefully we will see a son of his wear the No.12 jersey in the future.

Well done, Richo.

Number 12

Height 197cm

Weight 103kg

DOB 19-03-1975

Games 282

Goals 800

Debut 1993

Recruited from Devonport (Tas)

AFL Awards All Australian 1996, 1999

Club Awards Best and fairest 2007, Leading Goalkicker 1994, ’96-’99, ‘2001-’07

Brownlow Votes 112

Comments

  1. pauldaffey says:

    Domenic,

    I’ll never forget the day that Richo was finally moved on to a wing. It was against Freo at Subiaco in about Round 4 of 2007. He should have played the last decade of his career there.

    Your piece has got me thinking about the best few final years of a career. Richo would certainly be up there. The only one to compete in my mind would be Bernie Quinlan, who only really started kicking goals consistently for Fitzroy when he was past 30.

    In 1981, he won the Brownlow at 31, sharing it with another 31-year-old, Barry Round. Oddly, both players were from the same home town, Traralgon, and went to Footscray before achieving success at their second VFL clubs.

    I acknowledge that Bernie Quinlan and Barry Round might be before your time.

    Great work on Richo.

  2. Great rap up Damo.
    Richo was a bloody star.
    But the younger forwards will benefit from him callin it quits.
    Jeff

  3. Jeff – It was Dom, not Damo.

    I’m going to miss Richo, as he’s been a part of Richmond since I started following them as a 6 year old. It’s definitely sad to see him go, but we can’t dwell in the past, we have to move on, and even though Richo isn’t around I’m excited about 2010 and all the coming years, and I’m sure he would be too.

    In Jayden Post we may have a new Richo anyway.

  4. Damian Watson says:

    Great work Dom,

    I remember that match where Richo displayed that match-winning performance against the Blues in 2008, he was pivotal when the game was up for grabs in the second half.

    It’ll be intresting to hear his special comments on Channel 7 this year.

  5. Martin Reeves says:

    I was sitting behind the goals at Subi Oval the day Richo was transformed into a wingman. It was a blindingly hot day in Perth and I was slowly melting into my seat; but Richo was everywhere, kicking 4 if I recall correctly and taking big grabs on the last line of defence. He didn’t stop running, on what is a massive ground. I was long retired in 2007 and being 3 or 4 years younger than Richo, I remember thinking ‘how does he do it?’.

  6. Here’s an interesting statistic I just discovered:

    Anyone want to hazard a guess as to out of all AFL players since 1987 who have had at least 30 scoring shots in a season, which player has had the greatest goalkicking % in a season?

  7. Richo?

  8. YES! (although considering the topic of this discussion its not surprising)

    In 1995, Richo kicked 27 goals 3 behinds at a conversion rate of 90%. Now isn’t that surpising, and ironic.

  9. Steve Healy says:

    Jack Anthony kicked 25.6 in 2008, it would’ve been 24.3 if he didnt play in the semi final

  10. Josh Barnstable says:

    I can’t believe this is only Jack Anthony’s third year of football this season.

  11. Oops lol.
    It was too Great work Dom*.
    I thought it was great when Richo beat Sam Newman in a goal kicking competition.

  12. Hi Domenic,

    As a cats fan who’s making his debut today here on the almanackers site, i couldn’t have asked for a better article to give feedback too. It is certainly of significance that Richo’s last 3 brownlow votes were against the catters down at KP….As hard as Jimmy Bartel tried that day, Richo was marvellous.

    Like many others, I am often placed in a compromising position(metaphorically speaking) when i have had to justify my belief that Richo was one of the greats,playing in consistently poor sides. To add he has also had a certain charisma as a bloke that wouldn’t go astray on many others in the league (the first metrosexual superstar? ;))

    For now though I better stop writing – my wife already has her concerns…looking forward to 2010 and being part of the club (if you’ll have me)

    Cheers
    Dan

    ps- tigers to win 2012 flag (against Carlton)

  13. thanks mate, i only just got on here myself, welcome

Leave a Comment

*