Former Richmond star Matthew Richardson remembers his AFL debut vividly.
It was in Round 7, 1993, Richmond versus St Kilda at the MCG when a skinny young ‘Richo’ stepped out onto the ground for the first time.
Playing on him was the great Danny Frawley who was quick with a message for the fledgling Tiger.
“I actually played on Danny in my very first game of AFL footy and then he ended up being my coach,” Richardson recalled on Sportsday.
“Danny was a legendary figure. He was the State full-back, captain of St Kilda, he was a big man, the big spud farmer and I was a skinny rake from Tassie.
“I was petrified. I remembered I’ve just got to use my running ability here because it might be one thing I’ve got over him, I’m not getting into any physical tangles with Spud.
“After about 20 minutes, Danny’s tongue was hanging out a bit and he came up to me at a stoppage and whispered into my ear, ‘If you keep running like that young fella, I’m gonna knock your head off’.
“So I kept running a little bit more, didn’t I?”
— Matthew Richardson (@mattricho0) September 11, 2019
Richardson would then play under ‘Spud’ at Richmond between 2000 and 2004. He recalls how the coach endeared himself to the playing group.
“We used to do these runs called junk runs. We’d run off into the Botanical Gardens and there was no rhyme or reason to them, you’d just run,” he added.
“The little added spice was that Danny would come with us. So you’d be running through the gardens and Spud would jump out from behind a tree or a shrub and he’d wrestle you.
“He’d wrestle you to the ground for a minute or 90 seconds. Then you’d have to get up and run again. It was all about trying to duplicate that physicality of game day.
“He did it all with us and he really respected him for that. As a coach he came out and did the hard work with us.”
Listen to Richardson’s memories of Spud on Sportsday below: