Richo could go even better for Richmond - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Richo could go even better for Richmond

By Justin Chadwick 16/02/2009 03:30:32 PM Comments (0)

Here's a scary thought for Richmond's AFL rivals - Matthew Richardson is on track to perform even better than his heroic 2008 season.

Richardson was a revelation in his new role as wingman last year, finishing fourth in the Brownlow Medal count after a campaign in which he averaged 18.2 possessions, 2.4 goals and 11.1 marks a game.

The 276-game veteran, who turns 34 next month, once again proved age doesn't have to be a hindrance by playing a starring role in the Tigers' thrilling three-point NAB Cup win over Fremantle on Sunday.

Richardson gathered 25 possessions, took nine marks and booted three goals, including the final two of the match, to help Richmond snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

It was reminiscent of his round four performance against the Dockers last year when he gathered 25 disposals, took a whopping 15 marks and booted four goals as the Tigers annihilated Fremantle to the tune of 64 points.

"He's probably learnt more about the position," Richmond coach Terry Wallace said.

"We threw him in over here in round four last year and it was all of probably an hour between me and him sitting there saying 'this is what I want you to do' and he came out and got best on ground.

"Now he's had a whole summer to work on what works for him and what doesn't work for him.

"So for that purpose you would think that he would be better prepared for that position."

Richardson inspired his teammates time and again on Sunday, running himself ragged as Richmond overcame a nine-point deficit at the 18-minute mark of the final term to snatch the win.

"Even the mark he took in the dying stages of the game, he virtually had run from full-forward all the way down the ground," Wallace said.

"He got down there and I thought he wouldn't have any air left to be able to take the mark but you know he's going to stand under it and do the right thing.

"I thought some of his courage work was terrific, particularly to turn the game our way.

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey admitted there was little his team could do to stop Richardson.

"He must be a freak behind closed doors, that's all I know, because I haven't seen too many players have that sort of effect this early, so he's in for a good year," Harvey said.

Despite the loss, Harvey was upbeat with what his young charges delivered, particularly Stephen Hill, who was controversially selected ahead of Daniel Rich at last year's national draft.

"A couple of our highest tacklers on the night were our younger players, so they're the sort of signs you look for," Harvey said.

Wallace said he would make about seven or eight changes to the side for next week's quarter-final showdown with Collingwood.

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