As Richmond prepares for its Round 23 clash with Essendon at the MCG on Saturday night, Tony Greenberg takes a look at a lightly-built, talented, tenacious Tiger who was a final round specialist.

Billy Brown played 129 games for Richmond from 1963-71 and was an important member of the Club’s 1967 and 1969 premiership sides.

During his senior career at Tigerland, the 171cm, 63kg wingman-turned-rover averaged almost a goal per game, scoring 124 goals from his 129 appearances.

His highest goal tally in a match was five, which he scored on three occasions – remarkably, in each of the final home-and-away rounds of the 1967, 1968 and 1969 seasons.

In the last round of the ’67 season, Richmond had to beat Geelong at Kardinia Park to clinch top spot on the ladder.

A nine-goal first-quarter blitz was the catalyst for the Tigers to go on and record an impressive 12-point victory, with first-year wonder key forward Royce Hart and Billy Brown the heroes on the goalkicking front that afternoon. 

Hart booted six goals, while the elusive Brown slotted through five.  Four weeks later, the same pair would kick three goals apiece in Richmond’s drought-breaking premiership triumph over the Cats.

Fast-forward 12 months . . . Richmond, the reigning premier, was out of the top four, despite winning its previous five games on-the-trot.  The Tigers needed to beat Melbourne at the MCG in the final home-and-away round, and hope that St Kilda, in fourth spot, lost to Geelong.

With Billy Brown in sparkling form, Richmond romped home by 49 points – 18.21 (129) to 12.8 (80). Brown was the leading goalkicker in the match with five, but despite a sixth successive win, the Tigers were denied a place in the finals when the Saints defeated the Cats.


One year later, Richmond was finishing the 1969 season with a full head of steam, after slumping to sixth place (in the then 12-team competition) with a 6-6 record at the completion of Round 12.

The revitalised Tigers had won six of their next seven games, with an inspirational come-from-behind victory over Carlton in the second last round of the season catapulting them into the top four.

All that stood between Richmond and a certain finals berth, was Footscray at the MCG in the final round.

Once again, it was Brown who led the way, booting five goals (again, the most in the match), as the Tigers crushed the Bulldogs by 90 points – 23.16 (154) to 9.10 (64).

Four weeks later, Richmond would prove too powerful for arch-rival Carlton, beating the Blues by 25 points in the ’69 Grand Final, to claim its seventh VFL premiership, with Brown a valuable contributor on the big day.

Clearly, Billy Brown was a player who thrived when the going got tough at the business end of the season.