In a special holiday season series, richmondfc.com.au is 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 the candidates we have nominated. Today we focus on the tall back pockets...
Beard was a prized, mature-age recruit for Richmond from Western Australia. He stood out of football for the entire 1968 season, so he could secure a clearance from his WAFL club South Fremantle to the Tigers. Although he had only three seasons with Richmond, was a valuable contributor in the last line of defence for the team, minding the opposition’s resting ruckmen. Reliable, rugged, straight-ahead style of player. Back pocket in Richmond’s 1969 premiership line-up.
Hunt started his league career at Tigerland as a key forward and won the Club’s senior leading goalkicker award in the 1969 premiership year. Was 19th man in the ’69 Grand Final triumph over Carlton, but when Richmond won its next flag in 1973, he played a key role as a back pocket on Blues’ captain-coach John Nicholls, who had destroyed the Tigers in the previous year’s premiership-decider, booting six goals. With a little help from small back pocket teammate Laurie Fowler, whose flying shirtfront knocked out Nicholls in the opening minutes of the big match, Hunt managed to keep him to just one goal. Hunt’s strong build and aerial ability enabled him to successfully compete against the opposition’s tall forward pockets in one-on-one duels. And, although not the most reliable kick for goal as a forward, could give it a decent roost out of defence.
After gradually working his way through the ranks at Richmond, Dunne developed into a valuable member of the senior side’s defence, predominantly as a tall back pocket. Was a strong-marking, dependable defender, who had the ability and discipline required to counter dangerous opponents. Developed a close understanding with Mick Malthouse, who held down the Tigers’ small back pocket post at the time. Went about his defensive role with minimum fuss, but high efficiency. An important member of the Richmond team that thumped Collingwood in the 1980 Grand Final.
Kellaway filled a variety of important roles across Richmond’s backline throughout his fine league football career, but was probably at his best when assigned bigger, stronger forward opponents. Performed with trademark distinction when assigned the role as a tall back pocket. Regardless of the magnitude of the challenge, always responded bravely and with utmost discipline to what was required of him. A constant source of inspiration to his teammates with the way he went about his football. One of the most courageous players to ever pull on the famous Richmond guernsey and a rock-solid defender.
Injuries wrecked the early part of Grimes’ AFL career with Richmond, but in recent seasons he’s shown his true worth as the third tall member of the Tigers’ backline. Having regained confidence in his body, through some long-awaited, on-field continuity, he’s performed important roles for the team, curbing bigger forward opponents. Is a courageous, disciplined defender, with good closing speed, and an intelligent reader of the play. Finished equal ninth in the 2015 Jack Dyer Medal and equal seventh in 2016.