Stephen Rae is Richmond’s next Homecoming Hero for the 2018 season.
The Tigers are set to pay tribute to the member of their 1973 premiership team during the pre-game build-up at Saturday afternoon’s Round 10 clash with St Kilda at the MCG.
Rae will walk to the Punt Road end of the ground, where he’ll receive due recognition from the Tiger Army.
He’ll kick a ceremonial goal, then sign the football and present it to a Richmond fan in the crowd.
Highlights of Rae’s playing career with the Tigers also will be shown on the MCG’s big screens.
Stephen Rae started his league football career at St Kilda after being recruited from local club East Sandringham.
He made his senior debut with the Saints in 1969 at just 17 years of age. Two years later, he was 20th man in the St Kilda side that lost the Grand Final to Hawthorn.
Rae, however, subsequently became disillusioned at Moorabbin and sought a clearance to Richmond – following the successful path his childhood idol Ian Stewart had taken a couple of years earlier, when he was traded by St Kilda to the Tigers in exchange for Bill Barrot.
Eventually, the Saints agreed to clear Rae, and he made his debut with Richmond in Round 6 of the 1973 season against Carlton at the MCG.
The clever half-forward had 11 disposals and kicked a goal in the Tigers’ 26-point victory over the Blues, but unfortunately dislocated his knee that day.
He was sidelined for several weeks with the injury and then returned to on-field action via the reserves.
It wasn’t until the Round 20 match, against Collingwood at Victoria Park, that Rae regained his place in Richmond’s senior line-up. But his impressive 20-disposal display that day, in the Tigers’ convincing seven-goal win, cemented a spot for him in the team’s ’73 finals campaign.
Rae saved his best performance that season for his new club against his old club.
Richmond had suffered a loss in the qualifying final to Carlton and faced St Kilda in a do-or-die semi-final.
The Tigers got the job done, defeating the Saints by 40 points, with Rae picking up 21 disposals and kicking two goals in his half-forward role.
Two weeks later, Rae finished with 19 disposals, as Richmond gained sweet revenge for its shock 1972 Grand Final loss to Carlton, beating the Blues by 30 points in the 1973 premiership-decider.
Rae was a Tigers premiership player in just his eighth senior game with the Club.
The following season, Rae continued to flourish, until the Round 12 clash with Hawthorn at Princes Park, when he sustained a serious knee injury that turned out to be career-ending at the game’s highest level.
He was only 22 years of age and had made just 20 senior appearances with Richmond.
During that brief time at Tigerland, however, Stephen Rae had been a valuable contributor within the team, showcasing his creative play, particularly slick handball, pace, and an abundance of courage.
And he had a precious premiership medal, as a reminder of what he had been able to achieve in the famous Yellow and Black colours.
Stephen Rae profile
Playing weight: 84kg
Recruited from: St Kilda
Guernsey number at Richmond: No. 13
Debut at Richmond: Round 6, 1973 v Carlton, MCG
Games at Richmond: 20
Goals at Richmond: 11
Honours at Richmond: Member of 1973 premiership team