Who would have thought a surfie-looking 18-year-old from Western Australia would go on to become one of the Lions most revered players.
Daniel Rich arrived in Brisbane in 2008 and on Saturday on his home turf of the Gabba he will play his 200th AFL game. He is the only player on the Lions list who has experienced an AFL final in the mighty maroon, blue and gold. The 29-year-old has stuck through tough times at the Lions and is now being repaid with success on field and playing his best football.
To celebrate his incredible milestone lions.com.au caught up with important people along his journey.
Rich grew up in Perth, Western Australia and captained his state in the Under 18 National Championships. Nic Naitanui was his teammate at the time and both went on to be drafted in the Top 10 players in 2008. Naitanui went to West Coast, while Rich went to the Lions.
“I remember draft time and we both stayed next door in the hotel room in Melbourne,” Naitanui said.
“We had no idea where we were going… He had to go to the other side of the country but he’s made a career of it.”
Nicole Duncan is the Football Administrations Manager and has known Rich from the first day he walked into the Club.
“Like a lot of 18-year-old’s, they’re very quiet and respectful, you don’t always get the big personalities,” she said.
“He played nearly every game in his first year which isn’t normal practice.”
The one word she would use to describe him is “solid” in both his body and the way he plays on the field.
Duncan remembers him playing in the 2009 AFL final and hopes he will experience that success again one day soon.
“For us, we’re not saying the ‘F word’ yet, but it would be nice to see it come full circle.”
Rich called Jonathan Brown a teammate in his first season of AFL. He debuted in Round 1, 2009 and made an impression on the Lions great instantly.
His powerful, penetrating boot was what he liked the most.
“My eyes would light up like dinner plates when I saw Daniel Rich steaming through the middle of the ground,” Brown said.
Current Lions Captain Dayne Zorko has played his entire career alongside Rich.
“Richy is unique – he’s quite fun to have around the changerooms,” Zorko said.
“That’s what we love about him. His ability to assess the situation and know when to be serious, when to be funny and have a joke.
“But as the years have gone on he’s certainly gotten a lot wiser and funnier.
“I know all the boys love having him around the football Club.”
Zorko’s favourite moment of Rich was his goal in the “Miracle on Grass” game against Geelong that had the Lions equalise with just two minutes left. They then went on to win the game.
Lauren is married to Rich and they welcomed their first child Xander into the world two years ago. Lauren has been with Rich during the highs and lows, including when he required a knee operation. She said this achievement of 200 games for the one club reflects who he is as a person.
“For me I see it more as a character milestone,” she said.
“It’s shown his dedication, his perseverance and commitment to the Club.
“He’s always wanted to be a one Club player.”
Senior Coach Chris Fagan
Fagan came to the Lions at the end of 2016 season and told Rich he believed his best footy was still ahead of him. in 2019 Rich is in career best form and Fagan hopes he is relishing in the team’s on field success.
“Daniel’s a fantastic team player. He’s a quiet guy but he’s admired by his teammates. I think because he’s such a caring person and a real family man,” he said.
“He’s been here a long time; he’s seen a lot of things and I hope for his sake he’s enjoying what’s happening here at the moment.
“Whilst it’s his 200th game this weekend, I’m hoping he can get to 300.”