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- Richmond Tigers
- Australian Rules Football
Matt "Richo" Richardson is a retired Australian rules footballer and current media personality who represented Richmond in the Australian Football League (AFL).
On 4 March 2014, Richardson became a member of the AFL's All Australian selection committee.
Richardson is known for his marking prowess, speed and work rate. He was the club's key forward through the mid-1990s and the 2000s. He led the club's goalkicking for thirteen seasons, and was selected in the All-Australian Team three times - in 1996, 1999 and 2008.
Richardson's 800 career goals currently see him ranked second behind Jack Titus at Richmond, and twelfth on the all-time list of AFL/VFL goalkickers. He also holds the record for most goals kicked without winning a Coleman Medal. He currently holds the record for the most goals kicked at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Richardson was one of the most popular players in the competition, this was shown when the crowd at the 2008 Brownlow Medal cheered every vote he got. Mark Robinson from the Herald Sun wrote "M. Richardson... I'm sure there wouldn't have been a more popular winner".
Educated at St. Brendan-Shaw and Don Colleges in Devonport, Tasmania, Richardson was the fourth pick (a father-son selection) in the 1992 AFL Draft, and was recruited from Devonport, Tasmania. He is the son of former Richmond and South Melbourne player Alan "Bull" Richardson.
Combining a 197 centimetre frame with speed and athletic capacity for a large man, on his day he has been a dominant presence for the Tigers. He suffered a torn left ACL in Round 9, 1995 against Sydney at the SCG after he hyper-extended his left knee while landing as he was running out of bounds and crashed hard into the fence and missed the rest of the season after reconstructive surgery on his knee, including the Tigers' finals series – the Sydney Cricket Ground was forced to increase the distance between the boundary line and the fence (which at the time was as short as 2.5m in places) in response to the injury. In 1996 he came back strongly, playing all 22 games and finished with 91 goals (49 behinds), earning All Australian selection for the first time. He sustained another knee injury in the pre-season of 2001, but recovered to play 22 games and kick 59 goals.
In 2004, a decision to step down from the Tigers' leadership group (the small group of senior players who help lead the club on and off-field) and focus on additional strength training paid off, with good goal-kicking form in the early part of the season including a career best 10 against the Western Bulldogs. Richardson finished with a tally of 65 goals for the season. In 2005 he kicked 65 goals again, this time with much more consistency throughout the season.
In 2007, in the Dreamtime at the 'G match against Essendon, Richardson played the game with a fractured eye socket and broken nose sustained only a week before. He still managed to kick four goals, and was denied a potentially match-winning fifth when he was penalised for a push-in-the-back against his opponent, Mal Michael. In the same year, he won his first ever club best-and-fairest, beating young teammate Nathan Foley by a single vote.
Richardson spent a large part of the 2008 season playing on the wing, rather than in the forward line, which allowed him to have a much larger part in the play than previously. Although he did not win the club best-and-fairest, he was selected on the bench in the All-Australian team and finished third in the Brownlow Medal.
In Round 6, 2009 against Sydney at the SCG, Richardson kicked his 800th and last career goal, becoming the eleventh player to reach the milestone in VFL/AFL history. Later in the same match, he partially tore his hamstring off the bone; he missed the remainder of the season with the injury, and announced his retirement after the season. He received a rousing send-off in Round 1, 2010, appearing before the match in Richmond's season opener against Carlton.
Richardson retired in 2009 after 282 senior games for Richmond; he became an Richmond Football Club life member after playing more than 150 games for the club and an Australian Football League life member after playing more than 300 games including representative and pre-season matches. His career tally of 800 goals was the eleventh-highest at the time of his retirement, and remained so until Lance Franklin passed him in Round 6 of the 2017 season. Richardson took a total of 2,270 marks during his AFL career, which was the second-highest of any player at the time of his retirement (since the statistic was recorded, starting in 1974).
Following his retirement at the end of the 2009 AFL Season and during parts of the 2009 AFL Season when he was injured, Matthew was an AFL expert commentator for telecast matches and a panellist on the review show 'One Week at a Time', both Network Ten shows.
As from 2010 Richardson became part of the Seven Network AFL telecast team, initially as a boundary rider and then as a member of the Friday and Saturday night commentary teams, providing expert comments. He also appears on the Thursday night edition of Seven News Melbourne, to preview the weekend's AFL action, and as a panellist on Channel 7's AFL Game Day.
Richardson also works for Richmond's media department, presenting their ‘Talking Tigers’ weekly podcast show and other videos on the club's website. He also presented Richmond's 2017 Premiership trophy to captain Trent Cotchin and coach Damien Hardwick following its Grand Final victory against Adelaide.
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