Ted Richards – Swanning About In TamaramaDuring the month The Beast caught up with Sydney Swans defender and Tamarama resident Ted Richards…
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Melbourne and I grew up in Sandringham, one of the suburbs down south.
Sandringham is a bit of a footy nursery, isn’t it?
Yeah, we’ve got quite a few good players from down there. Probably two of the big names right now are Jobe Watson and Chris Judd. I played junior footy with them and they’re both good mates of mine. Another claim to fame is that Shane Warne played cricket at our junior club too.
He was a handy football player too, wasn’t he?
Apparently. I think he played reserves for St Kilda.
When did you come to Sydney?
I moved up here in November 2005, so I’ve been up here for about 5 and a half years now.
Have you always lived in the east?
Yeah, when I first moved up I moved into a share house with a couple of other players in Maroubra and lived there for two years. Then I moved to Queens Park and I lived there for three years and for the last six months I’ve been living in Tamarama.
What do you love about living in the Eastern Suburbs?
I think it’s a lifestyle that you don’t really have in Melbourne, just waking up and going to a good quality beach right on your doorstep and not having to hop in a car and drive for ages, and the weather for most of the year’s beach weather. That and I really enjoy playing football here. It’s not a footy state so you can get away from the game.
Do you surf?
I’ve recently bought a board and I’m trying hard but I’m becoming really good at paddling, not so much surfing.
Have you got a foamie for down at Tama when the flags are up or did you get a glass board?
No, I’ve got a glass board and if I can’t get down to Tama I’ll either go to Mackenzies or South Bondi.
Do any of the other Swans boys get out there with you and have a surf? I’ve seen LRT out there.
Lewis Roberts-Thomson gets out there and if he’s not out on his surfboard you will see him out standing up on his paddleboard. A few of the young guys get out there too.
Is there anything you don’t like about living in the Eastern Suburbs?
Yeah. I reckon you get a lot of trash on the street. I don’t know what’s going on with my street but people just keep dumping stuff and it just appears overnight and that pisses me off. When I’m trying to ride my bike around, the amount of hills around here piss me off too. Coming from flat Melbourne, it’s a city that’s made for bike riding. In Sydney it’s the opposite. If I’m going to go for a ride I’m just in a sweaty mess charging up and down hills.
Do you ride to training?
I try to but normally I’ll just end up driving because I can’t be stuffed getting up and down the hills.
You played in the 2006 grand final defeat and got knocked out in the last five minutes; is it true you can’t remember the game?
No, initially I struggled remembering where I was and things like that and apparently the doctor ran out to me and asked me if I was okay and told him to leave me alone because if we won the game we were through to the grand final. For some reason I thought we were playing a semi-final but it turns out we were playing in the grand final!
What actually brought you to Sydney, because I believe you asked for a release from the Bombers
Yeah, things weren’t working out at Essendon. I needed a change and I think I was 22 at the time and I wanted to stay in Victoria with family and friends being down there but then I had a meeting with the Swans coaches and came up here and had a tour of the club and I thought it was a really good club and maybe moving interstate would be a good, fresh start for me. So that’s why I came up here, for a new start.
Your career really took off when you came to the Swans, why do you think that was?
I just think with the fresh start I probably had some renewed confidence and slowly started to play better football and slowly worked my way into the team, and through that I enjoyed my football and normally when you’re enjoying your football you’re playing good football.
You played your former club Essendon in your first game for the Swans, do you think it was good to get that monkey off your back straight away?
Yeah, I guess so. Essendon absolutely smashed us though and I was playing fullback so I had the whole Essendon cheer squad right behind me, but they were pretty good about it. I’ve still got a lot of friends there.
Are there any players you hate or hate playing against? Do you have a nemesis?
Of course there are players that you don’t see eye to eye with but I won’t give them the satisfaction of naming them.
Come on mate…
I’m sure they know who they are.
In 2009 you broke your ribs and punctured your lung in a clash with Brendan Fevola. Given his recent troubles do you feel as though you’ve had the last laugh?
No, not all. It’s just part of football and I put myself in the situation where I was exposed. And to be fair to Fev, he was actually really good about it. He sent me a lot of text messages and made sure I was okay. I think it’s just part of football and I’ve moved on.
Have you played against him since?
Yeah, I played against him last year and he jokingly reminded me about it a few times and said it was going to happen again. I said, “Well, if it happens again, it happens but I’m still going to be there.”
What was it like? How painful was it?
Initially I just thought I was winded pretty bad and then I started coughing up blood and I thought, “Hang on, this is pretty bad now.” I had to go off to hospital and spent almost a week down there, but once you’re in hospital you know you’re in safe hands.
Do you enjoy the relative anonymity of playing footy in Sydney rather than being under the spotlight in Melbourne?
Yeah, it’s great. AFL is slowly getting more popular in Sydney but as it is right now we can go about doing things relatively unknown.
Do you ever get recognised in the street?
Yeah, occasionally but they’re normally big Swans fans.
Do you think Sydney can support two AFL teams now that the Greater Western Sydney Giants are in the comp?
Yeah, I think it can. Time will tell and it might take a couple of years but it took a while for the Swans to make an impact here too.
What’s it like having to go all the way to Blacktown to play games?
We’ve only had to do it a couple of times so that’s good. We’ll have local derbies out there and it will create a bit of publicity so that’s a positive.
What’s your favourite ground to play at?
The SCG’s my favourite ground just because we train there and that’s our home base.
What are your thoughts on playing out at Homebush?
That’s also good because we view that as our second home ground and we have a lot of big games out there so I’ve got a lot of fond memories of playing big games out there. I love playing at the MCG too. It is the home of footy. With my family being down in Melbourne normally they are come along too.
Who’s the toughest player you’ve come up against on the footy field?
When I was at Essendon I remember playing on Barry Hall and that wasn’t too much fun and I was rapt when I came here thinking I wouldn’t have to play on him anymore. But I had to play on him again last year. I’d put probably him and Jonathan Brown up there as the toughest opponents. They’re key forwards and don’t have weaknesses in their game. They really make sure that you’ve got to be on all day.
Who’s the dirtiest player you’ve come up against?
I think that seems to be getting rubbed out of the game with more and more cameras being at the game and the consequences of being suspended.
Who’s the biggest pest in the Swans team?
Jarred Moore is a bit of a pest. He’s always around the club rooms setting traps and things like that. And Jude Bolton has been a bit of a pest recently. He’s got a clean-cut image but he can certainly be a pest.
Are there any talented young players that Swans should be keeping an out for this year?
We’ve quite a lot of new talent but two names in particular come to mind, Lewis Jetta and Gary Rohan. They’re both really quick players, they love kicking a goal and I think they’ve both got a big future ahead of them.
Will Lewis Jetta kick straight in 2011?
I hope so. I think it’s fair to say he will be more accurate than last year.
Your straight kicking record’s not particularly great either, I think you’ve kicked 33 goals and 28 behinds in your career?
You’ve done your homework. Now you understand why I play full?back.
How’s everyone at the Swans feeling about life after Roosy (former coach Paul Roos)?
It’s really good. Roosy was a sensational coach and what he’s been able to do over the last ten or so years has been incredible but we’re really fortunate that John Longmire stayed at the club and has taken over his position. I think he’s been senior coach now for five months and we’ve had a really good preseason and everyone’s really looking forward to the start of the season.
Who’s taken over the captaincy this year?
Last year it was Brett Kirk, Adam Goodes and Craig Bolton but Kirky’s retired and Craig Bolton has stood down so we’ve got Jarrad McVeigh and Adam Goodes this year as co?captains. They’re both good guys with great leadership skills. They lead from the front.
Now we’re led to believe that you have quite a famous mailbox?
Is it true that you are the owner of the ‘No Junk Mail Except The Beast’ mailbox in Queens Park that featured in the magazine?
Yeah, that was my letterbox. I initially had the ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on it just because you get that much junk around here but I was worried I was going to miss out on The Beast so I just added that little bit on the end.
Have you still got that written on your mailbox now you’re in Tama?
No, I’ve got just a stock standard ‘No Junk Mail’ sign but The Beast still goes in there so I’m happy.
Do you have a nickname?
Mainly Teddy but I’ve got a look?a?like, I guess, who plays soccer for Manchester United so some people have started calling me Vidic, the Serbian defender. I guess if I’m going to have a look?a?like he’s not too bad to have.
And we’ve heard you fancy yourself as a bit of a writer; can you tell us a bit about your blog, The Richards Report?
It all started off when the people at the club asked me if I’d just be interested in writing something for the club website and one day I was a bit bored so I just wrote something. I pretty much just got stuck into a whole lot of guys at the football club, in a light-hearted way, and it was really well received by all the Swans fans so they asked if I’d write another one and before you knew it I was writing one every few weeks and it’s something I really enjoy.
Besides writing, do you have any other skills besides footy?
I’m not sure about other skills but I work part time. I’m doing an internship at Citi as well as studying so that’s preparing me for work post football.
What are you studying?
I’m currently doing a masters of applied finance. I only just started that because I only finished my commerce degree last year.
What about sporting skills?
All the boys can testify that whenever we play cricket I’ve got a sensational wrong ‘un. But the only problem is I can’t actually spin the ball the other way, so it’s not really a wrong ‘un when that’s all you bowl. The only guys I can fool are the new guys at the club who haven’t faced me before.
Do you have any plans for when your football career comes to an end?
I’ve been working at Citi in the equities area for six months now and I’m really enjoying that. So maybe when football finishes, whenever it does, I’ll go into that area.
You’ve played 133 AFL games; do you reckon you’ll crack the 200?
I hope so but that’s a long way ahead. I think with 20 games or so a year if I start looking that far ahead it’s not too good.
Did you know that even at 133 games you’ve played more AFL games than 96.5% of all other players who have played in the AFL?
I didn’t know that and I love a good statistic so I’ll have to remember that.
Are you a single bloke or do you have a significant other?
No, I’m single.
Are you looking for love?
I’m looking, yeah. Single and looking.
What’s your type? There might be a girl out there in the Eastern Suburbs for you…
I don’t know, how do I answer this? I’m single and looking, I’ll leave it at that.
Do you have a career highlight thus far?
Making the grand final in 2006. Being part of that week, building up to it and coming so close to a win, it’s such a bittersweet feeling. It was so fun butto get so close then lose by a point was heartbreaking. Still, hopefully we can go one better this year.
How do you see yourselves placed in 2011? Do you reckon you’re a good chance fro the flag?
Yeah, we’re really optimistic. We had a really good preseason and I think we’re all really positive about this year.
Do you support any charities?
Yeah, at the Swans we do work with Red Kite and with the Oncology Children’s Foundation and for about ten years now I’ve sponsored a child in Haiti.
Have you been over there?
No, I haven’t been over there. I’ve been to Cuba, which is right next to it but one day hopefully I’ll go and see him.
Do you have any advice for youngsters looking to make a career out of footy?
I guess my advice would be just apply yourself at training the best you can, give it your best shot and that way if it works out or if it doesn’t you just know within yourself that you had a good crack at it. I think your work ethic will have a lot to do with how you go.
In an ideal world what does the future hold for Ted Richards?
Hopefully an injury-free year of playing consistent football and capping it off with a good premiership win. Looking down the track when football finishes I’d eventually like to go into work in a different field, maybe into banking and stockbroking. But who knows?
To find out more about the Swans home games, Swans membership or to read the latest edition of The Richards Report, visit www.sydneyswans.com.au.