In a special holiday season series, richmondfc.com.au is asking Tiger fans to select the best player to have worn each of the most significant guernsey numbers in the Club’s history. To assist in your quest, we have profiled those players who have racked up a minimum of 50 games in the number. The game totals and years listed relate to those played while wearing the specific number, not total Richmond career numbers. Today, our focus is on No. 15.
Des Rowe – 153 games, 1949-1957
Started his league career at Richmond as a centre half-forward, but turned into a top centre half-back. A tenacious, bold, dashing defender, who was a long kick and utilised his strength effectively in one-on-one contests with opponents. Was equal winner of the Tigers’ Best and Fairest award in 1951, won it outright in 1955, and captained the Club from 1952-1957. Selected on the interchange bench in Richmond’s Team of the Century.
Fred Swift – 146 games, 1958-1967
Played in a variety of positions early in his career at Tigerland, before becoming a star full-back. Was a tough, fiercely determined competitor, with superb judgement. Also was a magnificent exponent of the drop kick and a strong mark. He won Richmond’s Best First Year Player award in 1958, was runner-up in the Club’s Best and Fairest in 1960, and third in 1964. Captained the Tigers in their drought-breaking 1967 premiership triumph.
Jack Cotter – 105 games, 1935-1941
Solid, dependable, left-foot defender, who was one of Richmond’s best players in its 1940 Grand Final loss to Melbourne.
Leon Cameron – 84 games, 2000-2003
Was traded to Richmond in late 1999 following a decade-long career at the Western Bulldogs, and went on to provide the Tigers with excellent value as a classy, rebounding defender. Played a vital role in Richmond’s 2001 finals campaign through his running ability, creativity and superb delivery of the ball to teammates further afield. Also managed to hit the scoreboard himself, kicking 19 goals for the season, and he finished third in the ’01 Jack Dyer Medal. Was a natural right-footer, but so accomplished on his left foot, it was hard to tell which was his preferred side.
Kayne Pettifer – 76 games, 2005-2009
Richmond’s first pick (No. 9 overall) in the 2000 National Draft was an inconsistent performer throughout the early years of his time at Tigerland, but clicked in his first season wearing the No. 15 guernsey (having previously worn the No. 8). The high-leaping, medium-sized forward, with good goal sense, played all 22 games for the Tigers in 2005, was their third-highest goalkicker (31 goals), and ranked No. 1 at the Club for inside-50 entries. He then played all 22 games in the 2006 season, kicking 31 goals and finishing top five in the Jack Dyer Medal. But after a league career-high 37 goals from all 22 games in 2007, he suffered a serious knee injury in 2008, and was subsequently delisted at the end of the 2009 season.
Brian Roberts – 73 games, 1971-1974
Giant ruckman, affectionately known as ‘The Whale’, who played in both Western Australia and South Australia before joining Richmond. Was a strong mark, a proficient palmer of the ball from ruck contests, and used his bulk to full advantage in one-on-one contests. A particularly popular clubman, he played in Richmond’s 1973 and 1974 premiership sides, and also was a member of the Tigers’ 1972 Grand Final line-up.
Bob Weatherill – 72 games, 1917-1923
Thinly-built centre half-forward, who was a fine mark and kick. Played in Richmond’s back-to-back premiership sides of 1920-1921.
Hughie James – 69 games, 1912-1916
A champion ruckman throughout Richmond’s early years in the league football competition. Powerfully-built, fearless, highly-skilled, and a player with an excellent team-first attitude. A member of the Tigers’ 1920-1921 premiership sides and a dual Club Best and Fairest winner. Also wore the No. 4 Richmond guernsey for several seasons.
Arthur Mooney – 66 games, 1943-1948
A quick, elusive half-forward, who was dangerous around goals. Won the Tigers’ leading goalkicker award in 1946, with 49 goals, and also finished third in the Club’s Best and Fairest that year. Was a member of Richmond’s 1944 Grand Final team.
Bob Heard – 54 games, 1976-1979
Lanky ruckman, who joined Richmond following a 105-game career at Collingwood, including the famous 1970 Grand Final loss to Carlton. Was a consistent performer in his time with the Tigers, displaying fine ruckwork, the ability to take a strong mark, and kick goals when resting deep forward.
Justin Charles – 54 games, 1995-1998
Strong, mobile, energetic big man, who became a valuable member of Richmond’s side after departing Footscray, where he’d spent several seasons, and spending a year playing baseball in America. Immediately impressed the Tigers with his work ethic and enthusiasm. Had a breakout season in 1996, and polled 17 Brownlow Medal votes that year, just four short of the winning total of 21. Was involved in a sensation late in the 1997 season, when it was announced he had tested positive to an anabolic steroid – the first league player to do so. He made only two more senior appearances for Richmond after serving his 16-match suspension, before retiring due to persistent injury problems.