We continue our special holiday series at richmondfc.com.au, asking you to select the best players to have filled each of the traditional on-field positions for the Tigers throughout the past half-century, from our list of candidates. Today we take a look at the half-forwards...
Described by legendary Richmond powerbroker Graeme Richmond as pound for pound the best player he saw in his time at Tigerland. Also a nominee in this series as a small back pocket, but it was as a half-forward that he initially established himself in the Richmond line-up, and where he finished his long, illustrious league career. Won the Club’s leading goalkicker award in 1964 and kicked 20 goals or more in a season four times. Combined his goalkicking nous with plenty of aggression around the contest and a fierce determination to succeed. Half-forward in Richmond’s 1969 premiership side, which he captained. And was selected in that position in the Tigers’ Team of the Century.
Archetypal, elusive, half-forward flanker, who was given the nickname ‘Swooper’ because of his playing style in that role. The lightly-built left-footer didn’t need many opportunities at all to inflict considerable damage to the opposition on the scoreboard. Read the play extremely well, had excellent ball-handling skills, and an innate goal sense. Kicked 20 goals or more in a season on six occasions, with a best return of 49 in Richmond’s 1967 premiership year. A valuable member of the Tigers’ 67 and 1969 flag sides.
Walked straight into a powerful Richmond side that had just won back-to-back premierships in 1973-1974, after being recruited from WAFL club South Fremantle. Spent most of playing career at Tigerland playing as a half-forward and won the Club’s leading goalkicker award in 1978 with 55 goals. Captained the Club in its 1980 premiership year. Struggled with injuries during the latter stages of that season and spent most of the Grand Final against Collingwood on the interchange bench. But had still been a valuable contributor throughout that year, booting 43 goals, including a league career-high eight against Melbourne. Was strong overhead, mobile and smart around goals.
Transformed himself into the competition’s most dangerous half-forward, in the twilight of his wonderful career at Tigerland, after previously being acclaimed as one of league football’s greatest-ever rovers. Moved to a half-forward flank in 1979 and finished with a respectable total of 36 goals for the season. That, however, was just an entrée to his scoring feast that was to follow in 1980. Had a highly-impressive 63 goals on the board at the completion of the 1980 home-and-away season, before running riot in the finals series. Kicked 21 goals in Richmond’s three finals that year, including a breathtaking, seven-goal display in the Grand Final demolition of Collingwood that earned him the Norm Smith Medal for being best afield. Utilised his blistering speed, superb anticipation and uncanny goal sense to full advantage as a half-forward.
Initially made a name for himself at the game’s highest level with Richmond as a half-forward flanker. Won the Tigers’ leading goalkicker award in 1995 with 45 goals, including a season-high six against North Melbourne. Played an important role as a half-forward in the Richmond side that made it through to the ’95 preliminary final. Such was Daffy’s influence in attack for the Tigers throughout this period, dual West Coast Eagles premiership coach Mick Malthouse described him as the competition’s best medium forward. Created major problems for opposition defences with his pace, ability to create space, and kicking skills.