Dear Members and Supporters,

As we have just passed the halfway point of the season, I thought I would take the opportunity to provide you with a Club update.

First and foremost, the entire Club is looking forward to celebrating Dustin Martin’s 300-game milestone when we play Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday. He has been an extraordinary player from the moment he set foot in the Club 15 years ago.

On-field, his ability to deliver in big moments and in big games is unrivalled. Off-field, his love of the Club, his teammates and the Tiger Army is what drives him.  We are incredibly proud to call him one of our own.

The Club’s multimedia team has produced a wonderful documentary – Don’t Argue – tracing Dustin’s football story. For those that haven’t had the chance I would encourage you to find an opportunity to watch it and re-live his many great moments.


And, of course, it would be wonderful to see as many Richmond fans as possible get to the MCG this Saturday to make it a truly memorable milestone for one of the greatest players the game has seen.

The first half of the season has been challenging on the field, but it is important that our members and supporters know that we are embracing the work that is ahead of us.

We understand injuries and continuity have impacted our performance in the first half of the season. However, that doesn’t mean we simply accept it. The players and coaches are working as hard as they possibly can, and I have no doubt enormous growth will come from this season.

We saw some of that growth for large periods against Essendon and Geelong before our hard-earned victory in Adelaide. It was an important reward for effort.

Just three players (Thomson Dow, Nick Vlastuin, and Daniel Rioli) have featured in all 13 of our games to date. We have also used 41 players at senior level, comfortably the most in the competition, and had very little access to four of our last five Jack Dyer Medallists: Tim Taranto, Tom Lynch, Dylan Grimes, and Dion Prestia. However, this has created opportunity, and some young players have certainly taken significant steps in their young careers.

Tom Brown, Thomson Dow, and Hugo Ralphsmith have been significant contributors after biding their time in the VFL. Tyler Sonsie, Samson Ryan, and Sam Banks continue to develop their craft, while this year’s debutants, Campbell, McAuliffe, Lefau, Green, and Smith, all look like players of the future. The exposure these players are receiving is the silver lining to the difficult start to the season.


We have enormous faith in Adem and his team of coaches. This is a united group that is very clear on the way forward and optimistic about the rest of the year and the future.

I want to acknowledge the five AFL-listed players who will not be seen again on the field this year because of ACL injuries - Josh Gibcus, Judson Clarke, Sam Naismith, Mykelti Lefau and Tylar Young. We also have two VFL-listed players whose seasons are over, our skipper Lachie Street and Will Bravo. To lose seven players across our AFL and VFL programs to ACL injuries is desperately unlucky and we feel for these players. We will support each of them right across their rehabilitation.

I also would like to welcome our Mid-Season Rookie Draft selections, Jacob Blight from Peel Thunder and Campbell Gray from Essendon VFL via Keilor. They have both worked so hard to earn their opportunity and it was great to see both debut with our VFL team recently against Geelong and perform strongly.

Our VFL program, under the guidance of coach Steve Morris, continues to play a critical role ensuring our young players are well prepared when the opportunity comes their way. They have won six of 10 games this season, which has been a remarkable effort given the flow-on effect of the injuries we have had. They play Box Hill at Punt Road Oval at noon on Saturday for those fans that can attend prior to our game at the MCG.


The AFLW fixture has been released, highlighted by the inaugural Dreamtime game in Darwin for the Women’s competition. What a fabulous celebration of Indigenous culture this game promises to be.

With the fixture now finalised, we are excited to be able to fine-tune our planning for the upcoming season. The girls are looking fit and strong, and aided by some key recruits and star players returning from injury, I think they are well placed to return to finals action in 2024.

Our recent Strong and Bold Foundation match against the Western Bulldog was a great success and raised important funds that will support the delivery of the Punt Road Oval redevelopment. Our “Brick by Brick” campaign has already raised more than $250,000 and I thank every person who has donated. We all know how critical this project is to the future of our Club. The ambition is for us to commence works by the end of this year.

We continue to urge any members who have not renewed this season to still do so; our members are the foundation of our Club and we need your continuing support as much as ever. We appreciate the pressures on family budgets, but if able, we ask that you consider a lower cost offering and ensure your years of consecutive membership of the Tiger Army continue.

Finally, I am pleased to announce that Peggy O’Neal will be inducted into the Richmond Hall of Fame at our President’s Function in Round 16 when we play Carlton.

Peggy’s contribution to this Club speaks for itself, and our game against Carlton at the MCG will be a wonderful opportunity for the Tiger Army to pay tribute to someone who has given so much to this Club.

Again, if you can get to the MCG this weekend to celebrate Dustin’s magnificent milestone, please do. It will be a special afternoon and a game we will remember forever.

Go Tigers

John O’Rourke
Richmond Football Club