Matthew Richardson

Richardson, 34, has passed on the mantle as the league's oldest player, and has officially called time on a remarkable 282-game career which yielded 800 goals over 17 seasons. He was Richmond Football Club's key forward through the late 1990s and the 2000s, the club's leading goal-scorer thirteen times and has been selected in the All Australian team in 1996, 1999 and 2008.

Although he enjoyed a rejuvenation late in his career, when he played on a wing and finished equal-third in the 2008 Brownlow Medal, Richardson decided his body could not cope with the rigours of playing one more season after an injury-ruined 2009.

Richardson is a character who probably generates more debate amongst football experts and fans than any other in the modern era. As a player, he is known for his work ethic, stamina, courage and excellent marking prowess (particularly for contested marks), but also for his poor accuracy in front of goal. Some experts believe he has underachieved for his abilities, while others believe his record has suffered primarily from playing in an era of weak Richmond teams as well as sustaining serious knee injuries.

Richardson is also known for the high level of emotion he displays on the field. Throughout the early and middle stages of his career, he was heavily criticised for his negative demeanour and his tendency to berate, rather than support, his teammates when they made errors. In the latter stages of his career, he has developed to be a much more supportive teammate, but still showcases very visible emotions which endear his fans and amuse his detractors. In November 2009 Richardson announced his retirement.

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