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2015 Hall of Fame inductee: Barry Rowlings

Hall of Fame: Barry Rowlings Barry Rowlings has been inducted into the Richmond Hall of Fame.
Barry Rowlings has been inducted into Richmond's Hall of Fame
Richmond originally attempted to recruit Barry Rowlings in the early 1970s, but missed out on getting him to Punt Road then, due to the fact he was playing for Moe, which was in Hawthorn’s country zone.

Rowlings, in fact, won five club and three competition Best and Fairest awards while he was with Moe, before joining the Hawks in 1975.

He quickly became a valuable contributor at Hawthorn, playing 72 games with the club, including the 1976 premiership win against North Melbourne, before departing the Hawks’ nest at the end of the 1978 season, following a serious knee injury.

Hawthorn felt he was finished as a player at the highest level because of his knee problems, but Richmond was confident that, even at age 28, he still had plenty to offer its midfield, and moved swiftly to sign him.

The Tigers finally had their man and, throughout the next eight seasons, Rowlings more than justified their faith in him.

He was a star from the outset at Richmond, winning the Jack Dyer Medal in his debut season with the Tigers in 1979, despite not playing his first game for them until Round 5 that year (he subsequently finished runner-up in the Best and Fairest in 1982 and third in 1984).

Rowlings averaged 25.8 disposals per game in his 18 appearances during that ’79 season and added some much-needed zip around the packs for the Richmond side.

In 1980, Rowlings was one of the pivotal players in the Tigers’ dominant season, which culminated with their thumping Grand Final victory over Collingwood.

He was a standout in his ruck-roving role due to his breakaway speed and devastating left foot.

Time and again, he would use his pace to break the lines, and then deliver a spearing pass to a Tiger forward, which would land lace out.

Rowlings averaged 23.2 disposals per match during the 1980 season, and was a valuable contributor on Grand Final day against the Magpies, finishing with 18 touches, including a goal.

In 1983, following four seasons of consistently top-class football, Rowlings was rewarded for his top-class efforts and consummate professionalism with the Club’s captaincy – a role he was to carry out with distinction for the next couple of years.

Rowlings was just five days short of his 36
th birthday, when he played his final game of league football, in Round 20 of the 1986 season.

He had given superb service to his adopted club, Richmond, through his ball-winning ability, elite fitness levels, team-first ethos, impeccable kicking skills and fanatical desire to succeed.

In 152 games over eight seasons with the Tigers, Rowlings had averaged 21.9 disposals and been a wonderfully consistent performer.

Richmond great, Dale Weightman, was only too happy to sing the praises of his popular 1980 premiership teammate . . .
 

“If ever I was struggling a bit getting to the footy, at training I used to run next to Barry, because he just worked and worked and worked,” Weightman said.

“‘Bazza’ was the ultimate professional.
  He did everything right, looked after himself and did all those type of things.  Everyone loved him.

“He had excellent skills . . . he was a beautiful left-foot kick.
 

But he was also a bloody hard nut on the field, which is what we needed in those days.”
 
Barry Rowlings profile
Born:  21/8/1950
Height:  178cm
Playing weight:  77kg
Guernsey number at Richmond:  No. 22
Debut at Richmond:  Round 5, 1979 v Hawthorn, MCG
Games at Richmond (1979-1986):  152
Goals at Richmond:  117
Honors at Richmond:  Member of 1980 premiership side, winner of 1979 Jack Dyer Medal, Club captain 1983-1984