Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Top 10 Richmond Players In My Football Following Lifetime (1985 onwards)

1. Matthew Richardson

On his day Richo could destroy entire backlines. He played football like a sixth year boy against third years: larger, faster and more talented than his opponents, but not the most disciplined player on the park. A joy to watch... most of the time.

2. Dale Weightman

My memories of the 'Flea' have dimmmed over time, except for him collecting a gazillion possessions (give or take a few) every time he played for Victoria. But apart from Richo he's the only guy on this list who was ever among the very best players in the land, and so he has to rate this highly.

3. Wayne Campbell

Many Tiger supporters would favour Knights over Campbell, due to a perception that Campbo was a bit "soft". He wasn't: Campbell could certainly win his own ball, and was more of a natural leader than he was given credit for. You don't win four best-and-fairests by accident.

4. Matthew Knights

"Knighter" gets points for his brilliant 1998 season, his braving Tony Liberatore's fist, and for leading one of the most beloved non-premiership teams, the '95 Tigers. Another remarkably consistent player.

5. Joel Bowden

Starting as a talented midfielder, Bowden then became the main cog of the backline after Gaspar and Ben Holland "vanished". Should have been captain.

6. Brendon Gale

"Benny" was the smartest guy on the team and the one with the most interests outside of football, but no-one seemed to care more about the result of a match than he did. At crucial stages, he'd launch his big frame into packs to take match-saving marks.

7. Darren Gaspar

"Gas" is the only defender to make this list, which explains why the Tigers have routinely had big scores kicked on them. For a couple of years in the early 2000s he was one of the best defenders going around, restricting star forwards with his skinny fist.

8. Brett Deledio

Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin may overtake him eventually, but for now Deledio has been our best player over the past few years. His quickness, accurate kicking and huge, running goals were all things that Tigerland has needed for a long time.

9. Jack Riewoldt

Richo may be gone, but in Jack the Tigers have the next best thing: a big forward who rips through packs and who on his day can be unstoppable. He's a smart footballer too, able to give off the quick handball or kick to a running teammate to set up an easy goal.

10. Michael Roach

"Disco" no doubt had a better career than some of the others on this list, but I only caught the tail-end of it. Nevertheless I have to include my first football idol on this list.