Richardson hopes to return to AFL in '09 - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Richardson hopes to return to AFL in '09

10/06/2009 08:01:04 PM Comments (0)

Richmond's biggest star Matthew Richardson will take his time deciding whether to follow coach Terry Wallace and ex-captain Kane Johnson out of the AFL club.

The league's oldest player says he is ahead of schedule in recovering from hamstring surgery and hopes to play the last month of the season.

But the 34-year-old star utility will wait until the season is over before deciding whether to keep playing and stresses the best interests of the club will take priority.

Soon after Richardson spoke about his future on Wednesday, the Tigers announced a major figure in their future will make his AFL debut this Friday night.

Ruck-forward Tyrone Vickery, their top pick at No.8 in last November's national draft, will play against West Coast at Etihad Stadium.

No.2 selection Nic Naitanui is also expected to make his senior debut for the Eagles, meaning the 2008 draft's top-rated ruckmen would start their AFL careers against each other.

It was already shaping as a big match for the Tigers, with caretaker coach Jade Rawlings in charge for the first time after Wallace's resignation last week.

Richmond's heavy loss to the Western Bulldogs on Friday night then prompted Johnson to announce his retirement on Tuesday.

Richardson and Johnson are among six players aged 30-plus on Richmond's list this season.

"Kane has had a long time to think about it, he was injured in the pre-season," Richardson said.

"I've only been injured (for) four or five weeks, so I've been trying to focus on getting over the injury.

"At the end of the year we'll sit down and make decisions once everyone knows what's happening - who's to say I'm even going to get over this injury?

"I'm confident I will ... but whatever decision is made will be in the best interests of the footy club, it won't be about me or anyone else."

Richardson needed hamstring surgery after the round-six loss to Sydney and says his rehabilitation is ahead of schedule.

He adds his motivation to play remains high, although he jokes that Melbourne's chilly weather does not help.

"It was pretty ordinary about nine o'clock this morning, when I was running laps on my own out there," he said.

"But I'm still motivated, I want to try to get over this injury and get back playing.

"Whether I play next year, who knows?"

Rawlings is younger than Richardson and is also married to his sister, but Richardson says there will be no problems.

"Jade was the forward line coach last year and the year before, I had a lot to do with him for a couple of years," he said.

"I was treated just like everyone else - because he's married to my sister, that's his private life and his job is to coach players.

"If I deserve a bake, he gives it to me and we're all big enough men to be able to know where each other stands in that regard."

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