The inaugural RFC Hall of Fame was held in March 2002 when 24 honoured players, coaches, servants and administrators were inducted. Each year since, a minimum of three inductees have been inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame.
The criteria for Hall of Fame induction is based on the deemed valuable service an individual provides to the Club in a key on-field/off-field capacity over many years, and is decided each year by the Club’s Historical Group.
Richmond has a proud, rich heritage and at the Tommy Hafey Club hosted Richmond Hall of Fame function on August 19th 2011, tribute was paid to three more wonderful Tiger servants who were duly inducted.
Club President Gary March welcomed over 300 guests at the Plaza Ballroom Regent Theatre, and then paid tribute to Mr David Mandie, who had sadly passed away during the week. Mr Mandie had been a magnificent supporter of the Richmond Football Club since he saw his first game in 1923, a victory over Melbourne. Fittingly, the last match he saw his beloved Tigers play also resulted in a win (against the Fremantle Dockers earlier in the season).
MC for the day Kevin Barlett announced the first inductee, Joe Murdoch, a strong, rugged defender, who carved out an impressive 10-year career at Richmond from 1927-36. Murdoch was a key member of Richmond’s 1932 and 1934 premiership sides. Joe’s son, George Murdoch accepted the induction on behalf of the now deceased Joe. George regaled the audience with a number of personal and humorous anecdotes about his father, especially the ones which portrayed Joe as one who was never overshadowed by the great Jack Dyer. The Murdoch family were out in force to celebrate Joe’s induction, accounting for four full tables!
Following a splendid main course, the inimitable Phil deFegely conducted a spirited auction, after which KB had an excellent interview with Damien Hardwick.
KB then introduced the second inductee for the day, John Northey. A lightly-built half-forward-flanker, who earned the nickname ‘Swooper’ due to his ability to swoop on the loose ball in Richmond’s forward line and make something happen, John was the epitome of the opportunist half-forward, needing only a few possessions to swing a game. Possessing fine ball-handling skills, an uncanny goal sense, and a clever football brain, Swooper played a vital role in the Tigers’ 1967 and 1969 premiership sides, before departing Punt Road at the end of the 1970 season to take up a coaching role interstate. He subsequently returned to the Club as senior coach in the early 1990s, guiding the Tigers to their first finals campaign in more than a decade (1995). John was present to accept his induction from KB.
The third inductee was Matthew Knights, and a very popular choice he was. A classy left-foot midfielder, ‘Knighter’ enjoyed a stellar 15-season career with Richmond. He was still a teenager when he won the first of his two Jack Dyer Medals, and went on to captain the Tigers from 1997-2000.
The highlight of his illustrious playing career was undoubtedly Richmond’s sensational come-from-behind victory over Essendon in the cut-throat 1995 second semi-final, where he single-handedly kept the Tigers in the contest during the first half, scoring three of the team’s four goals, including one gem, which ranks right up there as one of the best in Yellow and Black history.
‘Knighter’ was a ‘ball-magnet’, racking up possessions seemingly at will, and delivering to teammates by hand or foot with the utmost precision. His creativity, along with his ability to weave out of trouble on the field, and all-round silky-smooth style of play, made him a long-time favorite son of the Tiger Army. Matthew was present to accept his induction from KB.
Wrapping up the day a dubious panel of Hafey Heroes joined Tommy on stage for a bit of a roast led by MC KB, to celebrate the great coaches 80th birthday. Michael Green, Kevin Sheedy and Neil Balme related many humorous (and some not so funny) recollections of the days when Tommy introduced one of the toughest training regimes the game had seen. But what dividends did it pay!! And how they all loved him!! Balmey presented Tommy with a cake and Maureen joined him on stage in recognition of the fabulous support she provided during Tommy’s coaching career.
The day concluded with a rousing rendition of Yellow and Black.