With today’s date being June 30, Tony Greenberg has compiled a top-10 list (in chronological order) of players who left their league club during the season to join Richmond, back when the competition’s clearance deadline was the last day of the financial year, enabling player trade movement right up until that time each season.
1965 – Mick Erwin, key-position utility
Played 29 games for Collingwood, including the first three games of the 1965 season (Round 2 v Richmond), before crossing to Richmond and making his debut with the Tigers in Round 7, 1965 v North Melbourne at the MCG. Went on to play a total of 12 games for Richmond in ’65 and 33 all-up at Tigerland.
1972 – Wayne Walsh, wingman
Started his league football career with Richmond, played six senior games there, and then was cleared to South Melbourne in his quest for greater opportunity. After 63 games for the Swans, including eight in the first half of the ’72 season, he gained a clearance back to the Tigers. His last game with South was in Round 10, 1972, and his first for Richmond that season was in Round 14 v Carlton at the MCG. He went on to be a key member of the Tigers’ back-to-back premiership sides of 1973-74 and played 88 games overall for the Club.
1973 – Stephen Rae, half-forward
After a 55-game career at St Kilda, including the Saints’ 1971 Grand Final loss to Hawthorn, he joined Richmond early in the 1973 season. Had two senior appearances with St Kilda in ’73 (Round 4 and Round 5) before making his debut for the Tigers in Round 6 v Carlton at the MCG. Played eight games with Richmond in the ’73 season, including the Grand Final victory over the Blues, and 20 all-up.
1974 – David Thorpe, centreman
Had a fine 151-game career for Footscray winning two Best and Fairests and captaining the club in 1973. Quit the club at the end of the ’73 season, however, and signalled his intention to join reigning premier Richmond. Eventually the Bulldogs agreed to release Thorpe and he made his debut with the Tigers in Round 15, 1974 against Carlton at the MCG. Played nine games in the Yellow and Black that season, including the Grand Final win against North Melbourne, and 27 overall for the Club.
1974 – Gareth Andrews, tall defender
Was a member of the Geelong team beaten by Richmond in the classic 1967 Grand Final and played 136 games for the Cats, before transferring to Tigerland in a sensational swap for dual Tiger premiership player Rex Hunt during the first half of the 1974 season. His last game with Geelong was in Round 7, 1974 v North Melbourne at Kardinia Park. He made his first senior appearance for Richmond in Round 8, 1974 – v North Melbourne at Arden Street. And he would go on to play three more times against the Kangaroos that season, including the second semi-final and the Grand Final, which the Tigers won decisively. Had a 31-game career at Richmond.
1975 – John Pitura, utility
Became embroiled in a lengthy clearance wrangle with his club South Melbourne, as he sought a clearance to Richmond. Initially quit the Swans in 1974 and stood out of football, steadfast in his desire to become a Tiger. Eventually relented and returned to South during the ’74 season on the proviso he secured a transfer to Tigerland at the end of that year. It took until May, 1975, however before his Yellow and Black wish was granted. He lined up for the first time with the Tigers in Round 8 of the ’75 season against North Melbourne at Arden Street. Unfortunately, though, he never reached the same heights at Richmond in a 40-game career, as he had with South Melbourne in 99 games.
1976 – Mick Malthouse, small back pocket
Made the switch to Richmond just after the midway mark of the 1976 season following a 53-game career at St Kilda. His last game for the Saints was in Round 12 that season against Hawthorn at Princes Park and his debut with the Tigers came in Round 14 v Collingwood at the MCG. Became a pivotal member of Richmond’s line-up in his back pocket role minding the opposition’s resting rovers. Played 121 games for the Tigers, including the 1980 Grand Final demolition of Collingwood.
1976 – Ian Scrimshaw, utility
Cut it fine in his attempt to join Richmond during the 1976 season, finally securing a transfer from Hawthorn on June 30, just a few hours before the clearance deadline. After 19 senior games in two years with the Hawks, he played seven of the last eight games of the ’76 season with the Tigers. The utility was a member of Richmond’s winning qualifying and second semi-final sides in 1980 but was omitted for the Grand Final. Departed Punt Road at the end of the 1981 season after 40 games in the Yellow and Black.
1979 – Rod Oborne, half-forward
After three games early in the 1979 season (Round 2, Round 5 and Round 6), which took his overall tally at Collingwood to 87, he was cleared to Richmond. Debuted with the Tigers in Round 14, 1979 v Melbourne at the MCG, played two more games that season and had just a further two appearances at senior level for the Club.
1980 – Paul Sarah, rover/forward pocket
Played in the opening two rounds of the 1980 season with Geelong, taking his games’ tally at the Cattery to 128, and then lined up in Round 3 for Richmond v St Kilda at the MCG. Was a member of the Tigers’ team which defeated Carlton in the qualifying final and his old club Geelong in the second semi-final that season but missed out on selection for the Grand Final against Collingwood.