Analysis Michael Warner ranks Richmond’s top-20 players of the modern era, from 1987 to now

tugga

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Here's mine. Play nice.

1: Martin (two Norms, 1 Brownlow, more to come. I don’t think I have ever seen a player that evokes so much fear from the opposition that what this bloke does)

2: Richardson (had most of us going to footy for years solely to see him. Dummy spits, brilliance, bled yellow and black. God I love him.)

3: Knights (reckon he gets criminally underrated by a lot)
4: Riewoldt (performed when we were garbage and reinvented his game to go from perhaps the most selfish player at the club to the most unselfish)
5: Rance (my mates and I used to openly laugh at this bloke at games that’s how awkward he was. Little did we know he would become one of the game’s greatest ever backmen)

6: Cotchin (battered and bruised, his personal game has suffered slightly over the years because such is the nature of the man – team first. His leadership has been one of the key reasons why our club is the best in the land)

7: Broderick (I LOVED this bloke. His handball was sublime and his left foot rarely missed a target. Reckon he would be in our top three players if he was playing today)

8: Free (Reckon this bloke was yet another victim to being a part of a poor side. Fearless leader and the very epitome of what the “Richmond man” saying would be today)

9: Edwards (criminally underrated player whose ability to get out of a tight situation with lightning fast handball. Just sees the game in a different way to most mortals)

10: Houli (I don’t think I have seen a player who I am just so damn comfortable and just so at ease when he has the ball. I just know he won’t turn it over)

11: Gaspar (couldn’t kick for shit, but gets marked too harshly for it. At the time, he was exactly the type of player we needed. Dependable and reliable)

12: Deledio (Gee he played some great footy for us. Damaging kick, strong overhead for a 188cm midfielder)

13: D. Kellaway (like Gaspar, couldn’t kick over a jam tin, but made others around him stand taller by his actions. Brave as hell)

14: Brown (didn’t play that as much footy for us as we (or him) would have wanted, but provided the spark of magic we wanted from him. His five-goal last quarter on Clement against Collingwood was just serious genius.)

15: Grimes (hamstring injury prone and a lost talent. Or so we thought. I doubt we would have won the 2019 GF without him. When Rance went down with an ACL it was him who stood up in the most important position of all)

16: Ottens (AA in 2001 and was one of the main reasons we made a prelim in that year. Strong overhead and an immaculate kick for goal, I think he gets a bit left behind when discussing these lists. There is a reason he went on to be a multiple premiership player with Geelong)

17: Bowden (Superb footy brain and distributed the ball almost flawlessly from the half back line)

18: Gale (Played ruck, CHF, CHB during a time where the club mostly struggled. Made to be a spare-parts man most of his career, he did it with aplomb)

19: Campbell (there is no denying his longevity however I never thought he really impacted many games. Still, 297 games deserves a spot in the top 20 in my list)

20: Cameron (sublime kick on both sides, smart footy brain and just a smooth mover)
 

captain cotch 9

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I liked the list, surprised Nathan Brown not in at around 10-11, I've followed the Tigers since the 'Roger Dean' days and seen all the Champs, and been amazed and thrilled by them all at various stages.

But only Richo and Dusty have taken my breath away as well. Royce up there with Dusty/Richo but played much earlier.
I’d have to add Rance to that last paragraph.
His athleticism was extremely entertaining. Dusty is the best pure footballer I’ve seen play for us. Richo and Rance are the best combos as footballers and athletes
 

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Here's mine. Play nice.

1: Martin (two Norms, 1 Brownlow, more to come. I don’t think I have ever seen a player that evokes so much fear from the opposition that what this bloke does)

2: Richardson (had most of us going to footy for years solely to see him. Dummy spits, brilliance, bled yellow and black. God I love him.)

3: Knights (reckon he gets criminally underrated by a lot)
4: Riewoldt (performed when we were garbage and reinvented his game to go from perhaps the most selfish player at the club to the most unselfish)
5: Rance (my mates and I used to openly laugh at this bloke at games that’s how awkward he was. Little did we know he would become one of the game’s greatest ever backmen)

6: Cotchin (battered and bruised, his personal game has suffered slightly over the years because such is the nature of the man – team first. His leadership has been one of the key reasons why our club is the best in the land)

7: Broderick (I LOVED this bloke. His handball was sublime and his left foot rarely missed a target. Reckon he would be in our top three players if he was playing today)

8: Free (Reckon this bloke was yet another victim to being a part of a poor side. Fearless leader and the very epitome of what the “Richmond man” saying would be today)

9: Edwards (criminally underrated player whose ability to get out of a tight situation with lightning fast handball. Just sees the game in a different way to most mortals)

10: Houli (I don’t think I have seen a player who I am just so damn comfortable and just so at ease when he has the ball. I just know he won’t turn it over)

11: Gaspar (couldn’t kick for shit, but gets marked too harshly for it. At the time, he was exactly the type of player we needed. Dependable and reliable)

12: Deledio (Gee he played some great footy for us. Damaging kick, strong overhead for a 188cm midfielder)

13: D. Kellaway (like Gaspar, couldn’t kick over a jam tin, but made others around him stand taller by his actions. Brave as hell)

14: Brown (didn’t play that as much footy for us as we (or him) would have wanted, but provided the spark of magic we wanted from him. His five-goal last quarter on Clement against Collingwood was just serious genius.)


15: Grimes (hamstring injury prone and a lost talent. Or so we thought. I doubt we would have won the 2019 GF without him. When Rance went down with an ACL it was him who stood up in the most important position of all)

16: Ottens (AA in 2001 and was one of the main reasons we made a prelim in that year. Strong overhead and an immaculate kick for goal, I think he gets a bit left behind when discussing these lists. There is a reason he went on to be a multiple premiership player with Geelong)

17: Bowden (Superb footy brain and distributed the ball almost flawlessly from the half back line)

18: Gale (Played ruck, CHF, CHB during a time where the club mostly struggled. Made to be a spare-parts man most of his career, he did it with aplomb)

19: Campbell (there is no denying his longevity however I never thought he really impacted many games. Still, 297 games deserves a spot in the top 20 in my list)


20: Cameron (sublime kick on both sides, smart footy brain and just a smooth mover)
Free I can barely remember, Gaspar was solid but over a Scott Turner or Vlas? Kellaway ~ guts personified, did Brown play enough? I'd put Maxfield or Naish & A Krakouer aheqad of him. Bowden: meh. Campbell as you say 297 games is a wonderful achievement but Pickett did more in 1/2 a season.
 

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Professional stat whore who spent the vast majority of his career working out how he could get his '25+ possession tick' by chipping 10m dumb and slow to nowhere. By pack skirting and using his 'leadership' to demand the ball, so he could go on to do nothing with it. No footballer was more adversely affected by the change to the 15m kick-mark rule, 10m to nowhere was his bread and butter. Was a very good player in his early days when he ran his guts out for Northey, then went on to become our biggest liability for 5 times as long as he was an asset to the club.



Professional stat whore who you'd hold up as the ultimate example of a midfielder who refused to get fit enough to play the role, or a defender who got constant ball but barely broke a line in his entire career. So much talent, so little application. Dumped to the VFL by the first coach who had the guts to call it like it is. Earned a great living cheating the club and its supporters.



Professional stat whore who masqueraded as a 'rebounder', but literally never actually rebounded. He point blank refused to even attempt breaking lines with run or by foot. Spent his entire career (bar one game where the coach called him out and he played a blinder) putting no genuine desire into his football, just going through the motions directing the ball slow and sideways to nowhere.



His attitude to 'leading the club' was best exemplified by him inviting the entire team over for a huge party two weeks before season start, then going on to get so blind drunk he got arrested for pissing on the wall of the local police station (had no idea where he was). Played one genuinely great season in 2004, then settled down into the 'Richmond Culture' of the era where football was just a way to earn a buck. Body was shot in later years (that's where partying like he did gets you), gave us 25% of what his contract cost us.

-------------------------------

The four blokes above are the epitome of why we were the joke of the league in those days. Anyone who includes them in a 'best players' list just has absolutely NFI what a successful football club culture looks like. If Hardwick (or any of the greats who coached through the eras concerned for that matter) was asked off the record what he thought, I have no doubt he'd concur.

Who would I include instead?

I'd start by basing the selection criteria not strictly on years of service, but impact and contribution to our brief periods of minor success.

Cameron and Ottens were shining lights in how and why we went so far in 2001, I'd much rather include both than the four cheating footballers above, regardless of time served. Brown, Charles and Coughlan are prime examples of others who made a huge difference in brief careers, much rather include any of them.

Hogg was a bona fide elite player second only to Richo as a long-time servant in the key forward role.

Tuck and Jackson literally carried the side on their backs and gave their heart and soul for the club over long and massively underrated careers, much rather include them and blokes like Andy Kellaway, Broderick, Bond and Rogers who never failed to give their absolute best for the club.

It's no coincidence that we started becoming a genuinely successful club only after the four 'club leaders' above and their massively negative influence were no longer stinking up the place.

You reckon? Hardwick and co. continually played Newman for two years (2014-15) after he was cooked. Should have been gone following 2013. I reckon Hardwick and co rated him highly to keep playing him.
Reckon Cameron and Bond were stiff as per your assessment.
 

Rayzorwire

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Here's mine. Play nice.

1: Martin (two Norms, 1 Brownlow, more to come. I don’t think I have ever seen a player that evokes so much fear from the opposition that what this bloke does)

2: Richardson (had most of us going to footy for years solely to see him. Dummy spits, brilliance, bled yellow and black. God I love him.)

3: Knights (reckon he gets criminally underrated by a lot)
4: Riewoldt (performed when we were garbage and reinvented his game to go from perhaps the most selfish player at the club to the most unselfish)
5: Rance (my mates and I used to openly laugh at this bloke at games that’s how awkward he was. Little did we know he would become one of the game’s greatest ever backmen)

6: Cotchin (battered and bruised, his personal game has suffered slightly over the years because such is the nature of the man – team first. His leadership has been one of the key reasons why our club is the best in the land)

7: Broderick (I LOVED this bloke. His handball was sublime and his left foot rarely missed a target. Reckon he would be in our top three players if he was playing today)

8: Free (Reckon this bloke was yet another victim to being a part of a poor side. Fearless leader and the very epitome of what the “Richmond man” saying would be today)

9: Edwards (criminally underrated player whose ability to get out of a tight situation with lightning fast handball. Just sees the game in a different way to most mortals)

10: Houli (I don’t think I have seen a player who I am just so damn comfortable and just so at ease when he has the ball. I just know he won’t turn it over)

11: Gaspar (couldn’t kick for shit, but gets marked too harshly for it. At the time, he was exactly the type of player we needed. Dependable and reliable)

12: Deledio (Gee he played some great footy for us. Damaging kick, strong overhead for a 188cm midfielder)

13: D. Kellaway (like Gaspar, couldn’t kick over a jam tin, but made others around him stand taller by his actions. Brave as hell)

14: Brown (didn’t play that as much footy for us as we (or him) would have wanted, but provided the spark of magic we wanted from him. His five-goal last quarter on Clement against Collingwood was just serious genius.)

15: Grimes (hamstring injury prone and a lost talent. Or so we thought. I doubt we would have won the 2019 GF without him. When Rance went down with an ACL it was him who stood up in the most important position of all)

16: Ottens (AA in 2001 and was one of the main reasons we made a prelim in that year. Strong overhead and an immaculate kick for goal, I think he gets a bit left behind when discussing these lists. There is a reason he went on to be a multiple premiership player with Geelong)

17: Bowden (Superb footy brain and distributed the ball almost flawlessly from the half back line)

18: Gale (Played ruck, CHF, CHB during a time where the club mostly struggled. Made to be a spare-parts man most of his career, he did it with aplomb)

19: Campbell (there is no denying his longevity however I never thought he really impacted many games. Still, 297 games deserves a spot in the top 20 in my list)

20: Cameron (sublime kick on both sides, smart footy brain and just a smooth mover)
Lots of great observations in there, tug, love you having Brodder's so high, what a class act he was.

We did so well out of Fitzroy's demise.

I'll dig my well worn asbestos hazmat suit out of the locker tomorrow and rise to your top-20 challenge. Least I can do after you did all that typing mate. ;):thumbsu:

You reckon? Hardwick and co. continually played Newman for two years (2014-15) after he was cooked. Should have been gone following 2013. I reckon Hardwick and co rated him highly to keep playing him.
You make a good point and could well be right that Hardwick rated him more highly than I like to remember. Now you mention it I did no doubt criticise him at the time for having a biased blind spot where Newman was concerned.

The question of captaincy was a thorny one throughout that era. There was no obvious senior choice with long-term viability ahead of them and we handed Cotch the role too early to be ideal because of that fact. The reason Newman's career meandered on far too long may well be down to that more than anything.

Glancing back at our lists from that era, we also definitely had a dire lack of senior bodies and experienced footy brains down back at the time, brought Chaplin and others in for precisely that reason.

I'd also argue that getting along famously with Newman and Campbell was an absolute must for Hardwick after what happened to his predecessor. ;)
 

Grrr

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Every coach Bowden ever had lamented his lack of desire to get the best out of himself. Could have been a star, undoubtedly had the talent, but he knew he'd get a game every week just coasting. So that's what he did, trained lazy, played an entire career full of only patches of brilliance as a result. He had every right to conduct his career the way he did (I certainly don't dislike him as a person for it), but buggered if I'll ever applaud the way he went about it, call him a 'star' or hold him up as anything other than a prime example to young footballers about how even rare and precious talent won't make you genuinely successful without a good measure of hard work to go with it.

I forget which game it was so many years have passed (pretty sure it was a Dreamtime game, I commented heavily on it at the time), but the way Newman played that night was utterly magnificent. He played on 'angry pills' because he'd been questioned by the coach over his desire to put his heart into his football and be a genuine leader. He ran his guts out, threw himself into contests and the opposition around him were taking backward steps left, right and centre because he was formidable. A man possessed.

That happened once in his whole career and it only occurred out of hatred for his coach. "I'll bloody show him" he thought and he went out and played the game of his life. What he showed me and others who knew enough to see what had happened that night, was that he could have played like that every week, or at least often, when it counted. He chose not to.

As for his ability, I defy anyone to show me examples of him breaking a line. That's what rebound defenders are supposed to do - he was a lousy man-on-man defender by anyone's definition. People got so excited over a young Andrew Raines back in the day because after years of suffering through Newman's garbage, Richmond supporters had utterly forgotten what an attacking rebound defender even played like.

Neither Bowden or Newman would get a game in our current side (nor Campbell or Johnson). Not because they lack talent, we just wouldn't tolerate the entitled, cheating attitude they brought to their football. Almost everyone else on the list would vie for a slot, as would plenty left off. Quite a few would make us a better side.



Richo conducted himself the way he did because he wore his heart on his sleeve and would have given anything to see us succeed. He bled yellow and black and dug deep to give his absolute best every time he stepped out and nobody could ever doubt it. He was idolised for that more than his ability. He sacrificed hundreds of thousands of dollars to remain a Tiger. In other words, he was the opposite kind of club servant to the four I mentioned.

Nobody ever tried to poach Bowden, Campbell, or Newman (or would have wanted Johnson in the 2nd half of his career). Nobody was even close to silly enough to want to pay the very good money we were prepared to pay them to import the kind of player they were.

I didn't like how Richo could give his teammates a royal baking now and again for not kicking it to him or kicking it at his ankles, none of us liked to see it, but I will never hang someone who tried that hard on the club's behalf for so long because now and again he lost his shit out of complete frustration.

He played in an era where key forwards were supposed to demand the ball. What would you prefer him to have done?
Wow, some absolute tosh in that lot. Neither Newman or Bowden would make our side. You rate Short and Broad as better backmen than that Newman or Bowden. That's 2x All Australian CHB Bowden, who played on Brown, Treadrea etc. Bowden may have not even got the best out of himself as you say, may have been like Mark Waugh who made it look easy, but was still a great player.

My Geelong mate who I watch the Richmond Geelong games was amazed that Newman wasn't held in higher esteem, because against a great side like Geelong, Newman always played a really strong game of footy. With those two in our backline, it would have been the best backline ever to play the game.

Watched a Port v Richmond game last week and Campbell was fantastic. He put his body on the line time and time again. When he first started he was an outside player indeed, but by the end of his career he was a great inside player who did all the hard stuff. Was so smart about it too. 2 xAA midfielder, 4 x Jack Dyer. Superb player.
 

This Is Anfield

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Wow, some absolute tosh in that lot. Neither Newman or Bowden would make our side. You rate Short and Broad as better backmen than that Newman or Bowden. That's 2x All Australian CHB Bowden, who played on Brown, Treadrea etc. Bowden may have not even got the best out of himself as you say, may have been like Mark Waugh who made it look easy, but was still a great player.

My Geelong mate who I watch the Richmond Geelong games was amazed that Newman wasn't held in higher esteem, because against a great side like Geelong, Newman always played a really strong game of footy. With those two in our backline, it would have been the best backline ever to play the game.

Watched a Port v Richmond game last week and Campbell was fantastic. He put his body on the line time and time again. When he first started he was an outside player indeed, but by the end of his career he was a great inside player who did all the hard stuff. Was so smart about it too. 2 xAA midfielder, 4 x Jack Dyer. Superb player.
Never ever understood the Campbell hate, gut running is such an easy thing to do at AFL level.
 

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captain blood 17

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Righto, here's my crack at it -
1 - Dustin Martin. Don't argue.
2 - Jack Reiwoldt - easily the smartest footballer I have seen at the club (and the best forward).
3 - Matthew Richardson - Freak athlete/footballer. Could do the sublime then make you rage all in the space of a couple of minutes. But a wonderful footballer and clubman.
4 - Matthew Knights. Pure silk as a footballer. Skilled. Courageous. Devastating left foot. And great in tight.
5 - Trent Cotchin. Always been a gun talent, but now has the leadership aspect nailed as well. Hard as nails. He's our Luke Hodge.
6 - Alex Rance - Best defender I have ever seen at the club. That simple. Gun/freak.
7 - Wayne Campbell - Fantastic footballer. Mr Consistent. When we were shit, he was still racking it up. And some of the knockers should watch his work from 94 onwards again. He definitely put in. Gun.
8 - Dale Weightman - I am giving this guy respect and love. He stuck with us and was making state teams while we were on deaths door and winning spoons. Premiership player and legend.
9 - Paul Broderick - Up there with one of the best trades we ever did. Absolute tough as nails machine. Pissed Yellow and Black. Fantastic skills and wonderful in close. Could kick a handy goal as well.
10 - Nick Vlaustin - Been a jet since day one. Versatile player. Super consistent.
11 - Duncan Kellaway - Would go close to being our best stopper ever. There's a reason they called him the human glove and his matches on Buckley were worth the price of admission alone. Arguable the toughest player i have seen (pound for pound).
12 - Bowden - I kind of reckon he was an unfulfilled talent in a way. But, then the guy was an AA CHB for 2 years as well playing undersized. Swing player and very smooth mover.
13 - Dylan Grimes - Fantastic, consistent defender. Plays big or small. Doesn't just beat his opponent. Kills them. What's not to like?
14 - Bachar Houli - been a wonderfully consistent footballer for us. Quick, skilled and underrated on the courage stakes. I can't think of too many half back flankers that have been tagged in games, yet he is one such is his ability.
15 - Tony Free - cruelly cut down by injury. Freezer was another hard at it footballer. Enjoyed watching him.
16 - Brett Delidio - great skills. Great footballer. Played some awesome footy for us when we were hopeless.
17 - Brendon Gale - Big Chief - played as a CHF/FF, then defender then took over the ruck role. Was a very mobile and consistent performer was our Benny. Heart and soul club man.
18 - Nick Daffy - People forget that this guy was the best HFF in the comp for a few years. Could slot them from anywhere. Dangerous and quick. We screwed him over when we tried to make him a midfielder. Gun. Would make todays current team IMO.
19 - Jeff Hogg - A great forward who could also play defence. Could seriously play.
20 - Shaun Grigg - Behind Jack - was our second smartest footballer. Ran all day and was very well skilled and a handy shot at goal. Another Mr Consistent.
 

tugga

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Free I can barely remember, Gaspar was solid but over a Scott Turner or Vlas? Kellaway ~ guts personified, did Brown play enough? I'd put Maxfield or Naish & A Krakouer aheqad of him. Bowden: meh. Campbell as you say 297 games is a wonderful achievement but Pickett did more in 1/2 a season.
Good points and loving the discussion.
Turner? Nah. Loved him as an enforcer, but he actually wasn't that great a player. Vlas? Yeah, could easily mount a case for him being in there.
Brown vs Maxfield. Maxfield played 89 games for us and Brown played 82.
I loved Naish, but nah.
 

tiger_tough

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Neither Bowden or Newman would get a game in our current side (nor Campbell or Johnson). Not because they lack talent, we just wouldn't tolerate the entitled, cheating attitude they brought to their football. Almost everyone else on the list would vie for a slot, as would plenty left off. Quite a few would make us a better side.
Rubbish. If we can get the best out of Stack and Pickett we could sure as shit get the best out of Bowden and Newman. It's a totally different culture now than 10-15 years ago.

Edit: Bit odd that Clarko, probably the greatest coach of all time, thought enough of Newman to bring him in as an assistant coach as soon as he retired. Poor, selfish, lazy attitude and all... :rolleyes:
 

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About to have a punch on at work when a Doggies supporter tried to tell me Matthew Knights was shit.

GTFO campaigner.

*Punch on is slightly exaggerated.
Yep they're the same ones who go on about Lids . I know the Footscray members , all 12 of them , and am sick of hearing them defend Liberatore. Tells me a lot about them as a supporter group...
 

Bojangles17

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Wow, some absolute tosh in that lot. Neither Newman or Bowden would make our side. You rate Short and Broad as better backmen than that Newman or Bowden. That's 2x All Australian CHB Bowden, who played on Brown, Treadrea etc. Bowden may have not even got the best out of himself as you say, may have been like Mark Waugh who made it look easy, but was still a great player.

My Geelong mate who I watch the Richmond Geelong games was amazed that Newman wasn't held in higher esteem, because against a great side like Geelong, Newman always played a really strong game of footy. With those two in our backline, it would have been the best backline ever to play the game.

Watched a Port v Richmond game last week and Campbell was fantastic. He put his body on the line time and time again. When he first started he was an outside player indeed, but by the end of his career he was a great inside player who did all the hard stuff. Was so smart about it too. 2 xAA midfielder, 4 x Jack Dyer. Superb player.
It always astounds me when I read a diatribe of verbal diarrhoea in complete deference to how the greats of the game saw those same players and consistently capped them with AA honours and then some. I sleep like a baby that my view is in good company , for those poor tortured minds out there, they have my pity
 

Rayzorwire

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Wow, some absolute tosh in that lot. Neither Newman or Bowden would make our side. You rate Short and Broad as better backmen than that Newman or Bowden. That's 2x All Australian CHB Bowden, who played on Brown, Treadrea etc. Bowden may have not even got the best out of himself as you say, may have been like Mark Waugh who made it look easy, but was still a great player.

My Geelong mate who I watch the Richmond Geelong games was amazed that Newman wasn't held in higher esteem, because against a great side like Geelong, Newman always played a really strong game of footy. With those two in our backline, it would have been the best backline ever to play the game.

Watched a Port v Richmond game last week and Campbell was fantastic. He put his body on the line time and time again. When he first started he was an outside player indeed, but by the end of his career he was a great inside player who did all the hard stuff. Was so smart about it too. 2 xAA midfielder, 4 x Jack Dyer. Superb player.
Newman could replace Short if he was capable of breaking a line. Nobody ever takes up the challenge for good reason, he spent his career avoiding doing it. It must have happened once or twice by accident rather than design, but good luck hunting for it.

How on earth would Bowden the undisputed king of lazy training get a pass in the current era? He wouldn't, so he'd either move somewhere he could get away with it or just not play. He couldn't be forced to work harder then and nobody could manage it today. He was always his own man and we could take it or leave it.


Rubbish. If we can get the best out of Stack and Pickett we could sure as shit get the best out of Bowden and Newman. It's a totally different culture now than 10-15 years ago.
Very different culture. Today we have a successful one, in the past we didn't and in the worst periods it was often because of the leaders we chose. Our culture was mocked by the great coaches as being a joke and it was. The players ran the club and we absolutely sucked more often than not as a result.
 

Rayzorwire

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1) Cotchin

He’s not the best individual player on the list, but he’s the no.1 most important Richmond player from the era we’re discussing.

The way he leads the club on and off the field makes the players underneath him x% better. Nobody threw themselves harder at the footy than Cotch in that first, beautiful, successful finals campaign in ’17. We hunted our opponents down like Tigers and our captain was the fiercest, hungriest Tiger of all. Time after time he just busted packs open by sheer effort of will and turned the play to us, I’ve never been prouder of a club captain than the way he attacked that finals campaign and all our important games since.

I don’t think for one second we’d have won a flag, let alone two without him leading us. How can he not be our no.1 player?

2) Richardson

There’s no criteria on the list that Richo doesn’t smash. Pure talent, heart and desire, leadership and ability to lift his teammates, consistency, length of career, popularity with supporters, he was arguably the most entertaining footballer to watch we’ve ever seen - from any club - and he did it for 16 wonderful seasons. He had 20 possessions in his first game and kicked 1.2 (bless him), he was a star before half-time. And every second of every game after that he played like he was the club’s greatest supporter, like nobody else on earth wanted to win more than he did. He was the sole reason many supporters suffered on, watching him was worth bearing witness to yet another loss.

If you take a cold hard look at the club’s finances over the time of his career, it’s impossible not to conclude that we probably wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t been fortunate enough to have him play for us.

3) Martin

Hard to list the bloke who will probably end up universally regarded as the best player of his era and the best Richmond player ever at no.3, but nobody would have copped me ranking three players as equal number one. I find them impossible to split to be perfectly honest and I feel whoever I ranked 4th would be quite a way behind the top-3. No wonder Hardwick adores him, he’s like the answer to an impossible prayer he uttered when he took the job. “Please give me a bloke built like a brick shithouse who nobody can tackle, who has genuine pace and runs all day, who kicks 60m effortlessly, is impossible to match in a marking contest, frightens the life out of every opponent he goes near, and makes all his teammates walk several inches taller throughout his long and decorated career.”

4) Knights

Knighter had just shy of 6,000 possessions in his career and he hit the target with probably well over 5,000 of them. Out of the remaining ones, most would have been a case of a teammate not thinking fast enough to keep up. He was not far off Cameron by foot (albeit a pure lefty) and a better handball. Never took cheap options, he had an amazing footy brain with the skills to match, one of the best players ever at doing the most constructive thing possible with the ball. His centre of gravity and balance was bordering on inhuman. He had killer years in both ’95 and ’01, captained us brilliantly in the latter, he was so good for such a long period that I think quite a few supporters ended up taking his rare and precious talents for granted. Like Richo, he was a star from his first game - their stats are not far off identical from their debuts.

5) Rance

The perfect modern key defender, equally blessed with incredible athleticism, his football brain and his ability to lead and organise a miserly backline. One of the few players ever that would have succeeded anywhere on the ground, you wouldn’t put it past him to have found a way to the top if we’d insisted on playing him in the ruck.

6) Free

Gave us our dignity back as a tough side, led his fellow ‘mosquito fleet’ like a true warrior captain and he was not far behind Martin in terms of being an irrepressible accumulating onballer. Played hurt so often and it could rarely stop him being a key contributor, he left a massive hole any time he was unable to play throughout his injury riddled career. Hard to argue we wouldn’t have gone close to a flag in ’95 with he and Richo fit. It was the one which got away IMO.

7) Brown

The most effective mid-size forward I’ve ever seen when the game plan was to isolate him on whatever opponent was unfortunate enough to cop him. Superhuman understanding of the space around him and how to best exploit it. Magnificent kick, dominant in the air on anyone slippery enough to be a plausible opponent, way too good to leave out just because arguably the cruelest injury in club history stole him from us. I think there’s a case to say we were closer to a flag in ’05 than ’01. The way we played the first half of the season was going to trouble every team and ~1/3rd of our side had never even played together.

8) Weightman

Only the latter half of his career is covered in the era we’re talking about, but that was good enough to have him well in. Best handball in our history for mine, you just couldn’t believe these 25-30m rockets were coming from a bloke that size. Kicked a deadly low pass to leads, had sublime roving skills which you just don’t see in the game anymore.

9) Riewoldt

I tend to reserve my greatest admiration for the blokes who succeed despite the limitations their bodies places on them and Jack fits the bill. “Too slow, too short,” he’s proved beyond all doubt he was just too good to let any of these highly relevant handicaps stop him from becoming a champion key forward. Much like the Tasmanian who passed the baton on, his persona, drive and ability to inspire and lift his teammates make him the greatest kind of player to run out with.

10) Cameron

Hard to argue he wasn’t the best rebounder and most gifted kick the game has ever seen. Did more to improve our ball use than any other player in our history.

11) Mitchell

This bloke can’t get left out just because his time with us was all too brief and so badly marred by the head knocks he copped. Richo was more entertaining for far longer, but Mitchell remains in my mind the most exciting player I’ve ever seen in our colours. He did things on a football field that I’ve never seen matched before or since, could make the entire opposition crowd forget who they were barracking for and just unite with us to celebrate a stunningly gifted player. His pace made the opposition seem like they were nailed to the ground. His unparalleled aerial capacity and ferocious tackling just utterly belied his tiny frame, he was like a coiled spring in human form.

12) D Kellaway

Arguably the best defensive mid in the history of the game, the label ‘tagger’ is a poor fit for The Glove, far better suited to players who used any advantage they could get to nullify an opponent. I never once saw him once do anything remotely underhanded, he didn’t need to, he could play entirely within the letter and spirit of the rules like the perfect football gentleman and still utterly remove his opponent from the game. Toughest and Fairest is a tag that means a lot and he was breathtakingly courageous.

13) Ottens

Best CHF/Ruck we’ve had before the injury, so difficult to beat in the air during his early years when his pace and height just made him an instant All-Australian, then he’d go back and kick the most gorgeous, technically perfect goals, straight as a gun barrel.

14) Grimes

Best pure defender of the era with the incredibly rare ability to match up on practically every size or type of forward. Last year was his flag, nobody was more important. The defensive equivalent of Brown in his ability to perfectly judge space and read the flight of the ball so much better than the mere mortals around him.

15) Broderick

Massively underrated, outstanding ball user and then became one of the rare mids good enough to be an equally valuable forward pocket, such a smart and classy player.

16) Houli

My respect for Bach and gratitude that he came to us is as high as for anyone on this list. He started from a fairly low base rating and has continually become a better player with age through intelligence and hard work. He built himself into an outstanding elite player through his outstanding commitment and work ethic. Became a more complete and valuable footballer every passing season. You can’t ask more from a player and he deserves the highest praise.

17) Edwards

Outstanding footy brain, we picked him as an endurance athlete in the hope he could nail down a wing, but for a long time now he’s shown that he defies positional classification beyond “incredibly good to have around the footy.” Forward, back, on-ball, stick him anywhere and he makes jaws hit the floor with a supernatural ability to weave the most beautiful passages of play.

18) Lambert

Tremendous blend of skill and hardness, shoulder to shoulder with Free to lead us into battle for way too brief a time and had a very similar capacity to be impossible to contain. Massive loss to the club when he left.

19) Gale

He didn’t often wear it on his sleeve, but most definitely had a heart and love for the club every bit as massive as Richo’s. Played so much night footy half blind and still always managed to be a key contributor against all odds. Nothing short of heroic in our 2001 campaign, pure football intelligence driving his ageing body on to plug hole after hole, game after game. ’02 showed in stark relief just how important he was to the fabric of the side and it was just plain stupid to not let him go around again that year as he wanted to.

20) Prestia

I haven’t let time served exclude numerous others listed above and Meatball deserves a spot. Massively important in a part of the ground where we can be fragile at times, his consistency and output has been so crucial to the success we’ve enjoyed.

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Honourable mentions could go on quite a while, but I’m going to reserve my only one for a bloke that I suspect nobody else will mention - Ben Holland. His ’01 season comes very close to being the best season from a key defender of any on the list and I reckon that gets forgotten due to him playing the first half of his career up forward, the shocking injury he copped in ’02 and the circumstances around him leaving the club.

Numerous others unlucky to miss out, it’s the nature of these type of lists. I'm satisfied with mine.
 

Bojangles17

Hall of Famer
May 17, 2004
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Punt Rd ‘17🏆 ‘19🏆
AFL Club
Richmond
1 dusty, first there was jack, then Royce and now this great man
2 Rance , 5 x AA , I called early on he was a x between Scarlett and sos
3 richo , what a player , 800 goals in pretty average sides
4 Cotchin, one of the great leaders of the RFC, a cornerstone to our success
5 jack, I feel underrated , 3 x Coleman , on his way to 700 goals , wOw
6 lids , had it all , a shame he wasn’t around for the spoils , I liked lids
7 knights, wonderful player , all the time in the world, reg state player
8 cambo, very good player , reg Victorian player , 4 x BF
9 grimes, critical and talented defender , more underrated than a butternut snap
10 Edwards , super talented player , a key weapon in our unique game style
11 houli , the courage to run , piercing left foot and BIG game player , love him
12 Vlas , similar to grimesy , a little more attacking another key to our success
13 Prestia , what a midfield star and what a FINALS player
14 d ,kellaway , courage personified
15 Bowden, had all the tricks , harshly marked by lunatic fringe
16 Broderick , similar to Prestia without the finals prowess
17 gaspar , defensive ability similar to grimesy , saved many a goal , loses marks for attacking play
18 Nathan brown , wonderfully talented player , such a shame his career was crueled by horrific injury
19 Shane tuck , hard at it contested ball winner
20 Tom lynch , Ive seen enough that he eclipses and leap frogs a stack of candidates with a 63g season with feature finals performances
 

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