AFL 1997 – Twenty Years On: Richmond Tigers (13th)

Richmond finished  13th but half a game (and percentage) out of the top eight. A very Richmondy season, defeating the eventual Premiers early in the piece, but consigning coach Walls to the scrapheap after their 6-11 record was capped off a massive pantsing by the Crows in Round 17. They then unliesched Jeff Gieschen, who scrounged some late season respectability.

The Tiges’ Twos took out the silverware, with many of these names and/or faces appearing on that last Saturday morning in September (thanks again to the Football Record).

So Yellow and Black faithful (and otherwise), what do you remember about this trying character-building marvelous era from your build up to your next flag?

List Management

AFL Debuts 1997: Daniel Donati, Brett Evans, Nick Jewell, Ewan Thompson

Players Kept Under Wraps 1997: Brent Frewen, John Howat, Steven McKee, Bradley Smith, Pat Steinfort

Never Heard of Him: Ewan Thompson

Delistings/Retirements end 1997: John Howat (ret), Stephen Jurica, Brent Frewen, Ewan Thompson, Nick Jewell, Jason Baldwin (ret)


You can review all of the AFL 1997 lists here

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. This is the core of my ‘at the dentist’ Tigers team, where I run through the jumper numbers to distract myself. Its surprisingly effective and takes a while because I have no confidence in my memory. Was Tape 4 before Rogers or always 5? That can kill a good ten minutes.

    They look so young and scrubbed except Scotty Turner who looks 45 just like he does now.

    My 3 favourites here are Kellaway, Bond and Richo.

  2. The general public (i.e. not Richmond fans) think we finished 9th in 1997.

  3. Kent Winzer says

    @4boat… Tape was always 5 from memory, and before Matty Rogers I think its was Craig Lambert in #4.

    @B.J. … the General Public are idiots.

    Interesting to note that Nick Jewell played more Sheffield Shield matches for Victoria than he did AFL matches for Richmond.

  4. Peter Warrington says

    i loved that year, especially the end of Walls. That rd 22 was a cracker, sticking it to Carlton. Dermott wrote that had we made the finals everyone would have feared us, such was our revival (false dawn) under the Giesch.

    great Ressie’s GF, wasn’t Schwabby the coach? Johnny Howat getting something back, lifting the cup. Andy Kellaway played a big game and I knew we would do well in 98. (96, 97, 98, we should have made all of them, and could have done something. what would have happened if Swooper had been given what he asked???)

    however we lost something of the feel with Bondy leaving, and Naishy. Than Prescott the next year. 3 heart and soul players.

  5. Stainless says

    PW – Giesch was the ressies coach. I think the combination of their Premiership plus the late season wins for the seniors got him across the line for the job in ’98.

    The Round 22 game was the season highlight no doubt. How could coming from 7 goals down to tip Carlton out of the 8 not be? For trivia buffs, Ben Harrison dobbed the winner.

    The other memorable game for me in ’97 was a Monday night trouncing of then-undefeated West Coast at the G. A very youthful Joel Bowden kicked 4 goals, It was a breakout game in more ways than one – he also broke his collarbone. So very Richmond!

  6. Joe De Petro says

    We should never underestimate how much these players loved having Northey as their coach. He was the glue that bonded them together and Kevin Morris as his assistant coach provided the more modern emphasis on tactics and strategy, which was Northey’s Achilles heel. when Walls replaced Northey, that was a second mistake. Which part of ” I am retiring” did they not understand? Walls’ unique blend of “I’m a nasty mongrel, do what I say” and “I’m also a genius, I invented the huddle” nonsense was a disaster. Gieschen was even worse.

    A risk-averse administration made several poor decisions which had repercussions for years.

  7. Peter Warrington says

    Yes, I remember watching Bowden in that game and thinking he could be the next Royce. not quite…

  8. Peter Warrington says

    Stainless, yes I think I am confusing it with 93, saw us play finals that year with the Flea still running around (was at the spectacular Crows v Hawks, and also Bombers v Blues night game.)

  9. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Appreciate the comments one and all.

    From the tweets, may I add

    “Very ordinary side”

    “Top end was ok but it fell away quickly after that”

    “One of my fave groups of characters. A transitional side in some respects. And I very much remember Ewan.
    RIP Sticky.”

    “Yes Walls was stiff. Love that bunch…Birdman Brett Evans!!”

    “hello Duncan Kellaway I still love you”

    “Scott Turner played Reserves Rd1 V Geelong at G, on Gary Ablett. Said GA never spoke to him but said during match that he ‘was done’!”

    “Can’t go past Richo and Brodders.

    “General public thinks we finished 9th that year.
    Should also point out Richmond won 1997 Reserves Premiership! Howat/Baldwin co-captains”

    “21 Bulluss!!!! If Bulluss can, anyone can.”

    “RIP Jamie Tape”

    “@mattricho0 and Scotty Turner for me”

    “@2Guys1CupAFL another mention for #richmondy”

    “The win against Carlton at Princes Park in round 22 97 still one of our great moments.”

  10. Some WA links there. Mark Merenda finished up and West Coast. Very skilful mid-sized forward crippled by bad hamstrings. Ashley Prescott finished his playing career at the Dockers and then coached Claremont to 3 losing grand finals in the WAFL. Assistant coach at Gold Coast now. Ditto Chris Bond traded down to playing and now Football Manager at the Dockers. Darren Gaspar was a Rance-like CHB and his brother Travis (also crippled by injuries) was CHF in my Eagles losing 2005 GF. Dunno much about Jurica and Smith.

  11. Peter Warrington says

    Jurica was “eureka” and had almost no technique but was built like an Ox. kicked a couple of bags in 95 standing in with Steady Edwards for Richo.

  12. Chris Weaver says

    Brad Smith was a ruckman who went to Collingwood and played one game there – in the wet v Geelong at the MCG (2000). He had a really bad concussion (might have been soon after).

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