It is 30 years today since former Richmond star midfielder and captain Wayne Campbell made his AFL debut with the Club.
Campbell lined up for the Tigers against Fitzroy at Princes Park on Saturday, April 20, in Round 5 of the 1991 season.
The then 18-year-old had been recruited by Richmond from Bendigo League club Golden Square. He was the Tigers’ fifth pick (No. 29 overall) in the 1989 national draft.
Wearing the No. 46 guernsey, Campbell had an instant impact in his first appearance at the game’s highest level, picking up 20 disposals (10 kicks, 10 handballs) and helping Richmond record a 24-point win following a hard-fought contest – 16.17 (113) to 12.7 (89).
Tiger ‘Immortal’ Kevin Bartlett was the team’s coach and champion rover Dale Weightman the captain.
It was an extremely inexperienced Richmond line-up that day, with only Weightman (235 games), 36-year-old David Cloke (315 games) and gun forward Michael Pickering (121) having reached the AFL 100-game milestone.
Star spearhead Jeff Hogg and Collingwood recruit Terry Keays kicked five goals apiece for the Tigers while classy, young left-foot midfielder Matthew Knights was awarded the three Brownlow Medal votes in what was his 50th game.
Campbell played 12 games all-up in his ’91 debut season, and he went from strength to strength after that.
He established himself as an extremely consistent, ‘ball-magnet’ midfielder, with a first-class, decision-making capacity.
Although sustained team success eluded him throughout what was a long, distinguished AFL playing career Campbell achieved a stack of individual honours, including four Jack Dyer Medals (1995, 1997, 1999 and 2002) and the Club’s captaincy, from 2001-04.
The 297 games he played were the most by any of the 116 selections in the 1989 national draft, ahead of Brisbane’s Shaun Hart (273), and West Coast trio Peter Matera (253), Dean Kemp (243) and Ashley McIntosh (242).
Interestingly, the other 11 Richmond draftees that year managed a total of just 143 games between them.
Round 5, 1991 Richmond v Fitzroy match details
Richmond 3.3 9.9 11.13 16.17 (113)
Fitzroy 4.9 5.11 10.14 12.17 (89)
Goals – Richmond: Hogg 5, Keays 5, Knights, McQueen, Nichols, J. Pickering, M. Pickering, Weightman.
Leading disposal-winners—Richmond: Knights 31, Weightman 28, Lambert 25, Campbell, 20, M. Pickering 20.
Goals – Fitzroy: Roos 4, Wheildon 3, Dundas, Harding, McCormack, Osborne, Stevenson.
Leading disposal-winners – Fitzroy: McCormack 27, Stephens 24, Bourke 23, Bunn 22, Roos 22, Blakey 21.