It’s 50 years today since Richmond triple premiership star wingman Bryan Wood made his senior debut with the Club.

Wood was one of five team changes for the Round 7, 1972 clash with North Melbourne at the MCG, with selectors swinging the axe in response to an 89-point drubbing by St Kilda the previous week.

The Tigers omitted Craig McKellar, Laurie Fowler, Ray Boyanich and Peter Cloke (David’s brother), while reigning Brownlow Medallist Ian Stewart was out injured.

Replacing them were Eric Leech, Marty McMillan, Grant Allford, Neil Balme and the 18-year-old Wood from Blackburn, which was in the heart of Richmond’s metropolitan recruiting zone at the time.

Young Wood had worked his way up through the ranks at Tigerland, winning a premiership with the under-19s in his first season at the Club (1970), and subsequently progressing to the reserves the following year.

He then gained his opportunity at senior level on Saturday, May 13, 1972, on the back of a string of impressive performances in the reserves early that season.

Also debuting for Richmond that day was teenage ruckman Bill Nalder, from Victorian country club Lalbert.

Nalder managed only 14 senior appearances all-up with the Tigers, however it was a vastly different tale for Wood.

Wearing the No. 37 Richmond guernsey during his debut season, before taking over the No. 16 the following year, Wood produced a fine, first-up performance against the Kangaroos, collecting 18 disposals and taking five marks in the Tigers’ 27-point win.

Wood went on to win the Club’s Best First Year Player award in 1972 and he was an integral member of Richmond’s back-to-back premiership sides of 1973-74 in his wing role.

In those first three seasons of his league career at Richmond, Wood played a total of 65 games, with a return of 52 wins and just 13 losses.

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Bryan Wood

Highlights of triple Premiership player, Bryan Wood.

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By the late 1970s, Wood was recognised as one of the best wingmen in the competition. His encounters with North Melbourne’s dual Brownlow Medallist Keith Greig were a major highlight when the two teams clashed during that era.

In the 1980 Grand Final, when Richmond trounced Collingwood by 81 points to claim its 10th league premiership, Wood’s contribution was significant – 11 kicks, 12 handballs and seven marks.

He showcased his leadership qualities the next season, taking over the captaincy reins from premiership skipper Bruce Monteath.

Wood’s on-field assets were plentiful – a superb high mark, long, penetrating kick, and plenty of pace. He also possessed great balance and the ability to extricate himself out of trouble with ease.

To further enhance the Bryan Wood football package, he thrived on the cut-and-thrust of big-occasion matches.

Wood’s fierce determination to succeed, combined with all those other key attributes, made him a key player for the Tigers throughout the glory years of the early 1970s to early 1980s.