Rex Hunt will be Richmond’s Coming Home Hero at Saturday’s twilight match against Greater Western Sydney at the MCG.
The dual Richmond premiership player and media star will be honored during the pre-game build-up.
Hunt will walk to the Punt Road end of the ground, where he’ll be acknowledged in typically passionate style by the Tiger Army.
He will then proceed to kick a ceremonial goal, before signing the football and handing it to a Richmond fan in the crowd.
Highlights of Hunt’s successful career with the Tigers also will be shown on the ground’s big screens.
Rex Hunt was recruited to Richmond from Melbourne bayside club Parkdale and he worked his way up through the ranks at Tigerland
In 1967, the tall, strongly-built left-footer tied with Essendon's Geoff Blethyn for the VFL under-19s goalkicking award, with 68 goals, and he also ran third in that competition’s best and fairest, the Morrish Medal.
Hunt made his senior league debut up forward with the Tigers in Round 5 of the 1968 season against South Melbourne at the Lake Oval, aged 19 years and 67 days.
An impressive first-up effort would have been even better had Hunt managed to kick a bit more accurately that day.
He finished with 12 kicks, 10 marks, but just two goals from seven shots (2.5) in Richmond’s 45-point win.
The following week, against North Melbourne at the MCG, Hunt had 10 shots for goal, scoring 5.5 in Richmond’s 70-point thrashing of the Roos.
Hunt would go on to play 13 games in total for the Tigers during the ’68 season and kick 16 goals all-up, alternating with a talented youngster by the name of Royce Hart between centre half-forward and full-forward.
The following season, Hunt had a major impact in a Richmond side that went on to win the premiership.
Playing predominantly at full-forward, Hunt caused plenty of problems for opposing defenders due to his great aerial strength.
He consistently used his powerful frame to gain the upper-hand in marking duels with opponents, and he quickly earned a reputation as one of the competition’s best marks.
In 20 games for the Tigers throughout the 1969 season, Hunt kicked 55 goals, and he won the Club’s leading goalkicker award.
The last of those games in ’69 was the Grand Final against Carlton, with Hunt selected as one of two reserves that sat on the bench in those days, alongside his good mate, Graeme Bond. He came on to the field during the final quarter, to soak up the atmosphere of Richmond securing the game’s ultimate success.
Hunt followed up with 36 goals in 1970, before coach Tommy Hafey decided on a role reversal for him during the 1971 season, shifting him into the backline.
He adapted to the change extremely well, using his marking prowess to stem opposition attacking thrusts.
In Round 20 that season, Hunt recorded his highest number of marks in a match for Richmond – 15 – against Essendon at the MCG.
Early the following year, Hunt suffered a severe setback, when he was struck down with hepatitis. The illness forced him to miss the first half of the 1972 season, but he recovered to play a key role at centre half-back in the Tigers’ triumphant march to the Grand Final.
Richmond took on arch-rival Carlton in the ’72 premiership-decider, with the Tigers going in as hot favorites to win.
Hunt had the important assignment of curbing the effectiveness of the Blues’ star centre half-forward Robert Walls.
To this day, Hunt jokingly boasts that he managed to restrict Walls to just seven kicks that fateful day. Unfortunately, however, six of those kicks resulted in goals and the other was a point, as Carlton pulled off a major upset in the highest-scoring Grand Final in league football history (28.9 to 22.18).
That result burnt deep into the psyche of the Richmond players and 12 months later, the Tigers were primed for sweet revenge, when they took on the Blues in the 1973 Grand Final.
Carlton’s crafty captain-coach John Nicholls had destroyed Richmond in the ’72 Grand Final, booting six goals from a forward pocket, and Tiger coach Tommy Hafey was hell-bent on avoiding a repeat in the ‘73 premiership-decider.
Rex Hunt was given the crucial job on Nicholls, and he played his role to perfection, restricting the Blues’ champion to just one goal, and precious little influence, as the Tigers powered away to a glorious 30-point victory.
Hunt played just seven more games for Richmond, before being traded to Geelong early in the 1974 season, as an exchange for experienced Cats’ defender Gareth Andrews. He later joined a third league club, St Kilda, and also enjoyed some individual success there, but nothing could ever replicate for him, the pride and passion he felt in pulling on the famous Yellow and Black jumper.
Late last year, Hunt was honored for his achievements at Richmond by being awarded Club Life Member.
On Saturday, he will receive further recognition as the Tigers’ latest Coming Home Hero.
Rex Hunt fact file
Playing weight: 97kg
Recruited to Richmond from: Parkdale
Guernsey number at Richmond: No. 43 and No. 5
Senior debut at Richmond: Round 5, 1968 v South Melbourne, Lake Oval
Playing position: Full-forward/full-back/half-forward/ruck-rover
Games at Richmond (1968-1974): 113
Goals at Richmond: 121Honors at Richmond: Dual premiership player (1969, 1973); winner of Club’s leading goalkicker award in 1969 (55 goals); RFC Life Member