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Lions strike it Rich

Brisbane’s Daniel Rich will play his 200th AFL game against North Melbourne on Saturday night. Teammate Ryan Lester writes for aflplayers.com.au about the role he plays as a delegate with the AFLPA, his evolution as a player and his reputation as a prankster at the Lions.

I remember arriving in Brisbane after the 2010 draft. At the time, Daniel Rich was the new up and coming face of the club.

With stars like Simon Black and Jonathan Brown coming to the latter part of their careers, ‘Richy’ along with Jack Redden and Tom Rockliff were seen as the new breed taking the club forward.

Naturally, I immediately looked up to these guys and over the past nine years I have been lucky enough to call them all close mates.

Over this period, a number of our young guns have changed clubs for a variety of reasons, leaving Richy as our longest serving and most loyal player.

During the course of his career he’s played an important role for our club off the field, most notably as a long-serving delegate of the AFL Players’ Association.

The role he has acting as a conduit between the players, club and AFLPA is so important and Richy embraces it. He is a great delegate for our club, and is no doubt held in high esteem among the AFL playing group.

He’s the type of guy who always makes an effort to follow up and find out the answers to any questions we might have to make sure we’re getting the best possible representation and support.

The work he has done for us and the type of person he is, is part of the reason we’re all so happy to see him playing such great football in 2019.

As a player he’s always had the ability to change a game in a matter of moments with his long left foot. He’s been doing it ever since he took home the Rising Star award in 2009.

However this year Richy has gone to another level with his consistent high performances putting him in All Australian contention. He is known for his left foot, but as a club we respect him more for his toughness and courage. He’s one of our best!

 

Sometimes when you are around a football club for a significant period of time you need a change-up. For Richy, that coincided with ‘Fages’ (Brisbane coach Chris Fagan) coming on board. Over the last three years, he has found himself as a dangerous half-back, and no doubt he is more comfortable in himself as a person.

I know that people keep saying he’s the only surviving member of the Lions’ 2009 finals campaign and that loyalty is unheralded – hopefully we can give him another shot at it this year!

Away from the field, Daniel Rich has a couple of personalities.

He’s a bit of a joker around the club. Whenever we are on a bus interstate, you can guarantee he is sitting up the back with Dayne Zorko. Together they tease and harass many players but mainly Stef Martin, and often get the better of him!

You could say he’s a man of many talents. He’s probably the best golfer, tennis player and surfer at the club.

But, his most notable feature is that he’s a family man who shows great care for others, and has never let ego get in the way. He loves spending time with his son Xander and wife Lauren, and is a great friend to many.

Richy has always helped put smiles on kids faces at football clinics, hospital visits and various events around the club. The long blonde locks make him a crowd favourite!

We’ve become a close-knit family up here in Brisbane and post both our football careers, I imagine we will remain in Queensland.

Anytime we are driving to the airport or an off-site venue, Richy and I will carpool.

Along with ‘Zorks’, the three of us have seen some leaner times at the club and have always been there for each other off the field. This has only made us closer, and more appreciative of the wins on the field and the good times spent together off it.

Now that we’re seeing some good improvement on and off the field as a club, it presents a nice time to reflect on what we’ve been through and how far we’ve come and Richy’s milestone allows us to do that.

Good luck in your 200th!

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs