Vote 1: Pat Richards For Origin
He put Benji Marshall away for arguably the greatest grand final try rugby league has ever seen, kicks field goals from sidelines and is still amazing us with the freakish that only top shelf wingers can produce.
Pat Richards may not have the speed his once did, maybe not even the strength, but this 33-year-old Tiger has potential. Yep, this kid could make it.
On Monday he reminded us all what he’s still capable. Charging down the western touchline of ANZ Stadium, Richards is collared by youngster John Folau and seemingly about to be launched into the eighth row of the Olympic precinct. Somehow, he gets boot to ball. But not only does he get boot to ball, he finds the flying James Tedesco who manages to ground the ball in-goal for what might end up being try of the NRL season. It’s not the first time this rising talent has done something this remarkable and it won’t be the last.
Potential? This could make it? Rising talent?
Remember this was only Richards’ 100th NRL game.
Wests’ captain Robbie Farah praised his winger post-match.
Source: NZAUTV Rugby League
“If he had stayed here [in the NRL] there’s no doubt he would have achieved a lot in our game here but he went over there and he was the Man of Steel, won grand finals, so he’ll go down as one of the best players in history for Wigan,” Farah said.
“The time was right for him to come back and he’s been going great for us.”
Despite debuting for the Parramatta Eels way back in the year 2000, that’s fifteen years ago for those playing at home, this guy has only played 100 NRL matches. Well that may have something to do with the fact he decided to pack his bags after winning the 2005 premiership with Wests and try his hand in England.
Most Aussies spend a year, maybe two, sometimes even three, over in UK in the Super League. Richards spent eight seasons at Wigan playing 224 games. Not only that, he was top pointscorer four years running, enjoyed Grand Final and Challenge Cup success and won the Super League’s equivalent to the Dally M, the Man of the Steel.
Some doubted the lanky back from Liverpool in Sydney’s south west still had it in him when he returned to the Tigers last year. They were just a little wrong.
So let’s get to the point.
Pat Richards deserves to play State of Origin this year.
There might be others faster, flashier, younger but none of them can bring what Richards brings to the table.
Brisbane legend Corey Parker celebrated his 300th NRL game earlier this year. To put it in perspective, Richards debuted a year prior to Parker. Some may have regretted heading overseas so early, what might or could have been. Apparently not Richards though.
“It’s probably taken me longer to get to 100 NRL games than anyone but I wouldn’t change a thing…” Richards tweeted.
His first reply came from former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell.
His teammates call him ‘The Iceman’.
Isn’t that the kind of bloke you want defusing Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk bombs in a State of Origin at Suncorp Stadium or the Melbourne Cricket Ground?