Callum Richards to play game 150 this weekend
By Sarah Beagley
In yet another exciting moment for the undefeated fourths cohort this year, hugely decorated and much loved midfielder Callum “the Slug” Richards will run out this Saturday in his 150th game with the CYs.
Growing up, Cal played any sport he could get his hands on: cricket, tennis, golf, basketball, you name it. But for Cal, footy was always number 1, and he had a very successful junior football career in Williamstown before moving across to Altona for a few seasons.
Lucky for us, he was back in the blue and gold in no time, starting his illustrious CYs playing career with the Seniors side in 2009. “I always wanted to come back and play for the CY’s”, Cal said, “as I would come down and watch the club play often during my teenage years. I loved playing at the Fearon too, and I love how much the opposition hate it!”
The iconic Richards/Fearon love affair started in round 1 of 2009, the beginning of a premiership year for his Seniors cohort, with a win over Pennisula by 14 points. “I remember [the game] well and really enjoying it, and really enjoying the atmosphere in what was a big win for the club. It was also Zac Read’s first game and I gave him a couple goals that day, which he would repay me for big time in the granny later that year when he marked late about 15m out and gave me a handball to run into the open goal, of which I ran off high fiving the massive peanut gallery. Will never forget that moment.”
It really was all guns blazing in Cal’s first 4 years with the CYs, which saw him win two senior premierships in 2009 and 2014, the Best and Fairest medal in 2010 and runner up Best and Fairest in 2011. It was definitely a career to hang your hat on for Cal, but thankfully for us, the boots were not yet hung up for good when Cal was persuaded to continue on with the Thirds (and later Fourths) cohort a few years later.
“In 2015, a group of old school friends got together to all play together. They asked me come back to the CYs which I did in 2017 and have since played in the thirds/fourths”. In true Richards style, his career with the thirds and fourths included two premierships in 2017 and 2019, and three (yep, three) Best and Fairest medals in 2017, 2019, 2021. The man sure can play football.
Described by teammates as “Pure class on both sides of his body”, “the most skillful and consistently reliable footballer I’ve played with”, “an absolute jet on the field”: Cal is a dominant force through the midfield and enjoys a few sneaky stints up forward: “just never in the backline thanks”, Cal notes.
Cal has been a coach’s dream for a string of CYs legends over the years, with Cal playing his senior footy games under Alan ‘Oopy’ Elliot, Ian Rickman and Matt ‘Montey’ Montebello. This season, Cal torments the opposition with his undefeated Fourths side under coach Matthew Wynd: “that’s if you can claim what Wyndy does as coaching”, Cal jokes.
“I have also been lucky enough to play with some of my lifelong friends since joining the thirds, and sharing those wins with them and their families, and now kids, is pretty special, and hoping to add another premiership this year.” Better yet, “I played in a premiership in under 11s with Jimmy ‘Norm’ Farley, so hoping to do it again 23 years later!”
Speaking from experience, there is really only one thing that could pull a CYs faithful out of bed at 9am on a icy cold Saturday morning this year, and that is the chance to watch this very special season that Richards and his fourths mates are putting together. “I love everything about game day these days”, Cal says. “Setting Beau ‘foxy’ Coyle up for a goal or vice versa is something I love. Have probably burnt a few teammates trying to do that at times haha but also just having a beer after a win. I was also lucky enough to have my 3 year old daughter in the team song earlier this year too, and she now knows the words and sings it in bed!”
An incredibly impressive CYs career peaking with an important milestone 150th game this weekend, there’s a few shoutouts from Cal to those who have been a part of this journey. “Firstly, to my wife Kate who knows how much I love playing and puts up with me still going around, and always supports me.”
“My parents, who spent countless hours driving me around to different sports and supporting me, yet still continue to come watch me every week even though the old man always references how my stomach has expanded and how unfit I now look ‘running’ around.”
“A shout out to my close group of mates who decided to join me a few years ago so we could all play together, including some who travel from Ringwood and Geelong. This is really special to me and allows us to stay close and catch up regularly.”
“And finally to Wyndy, Buzza and Gatty who have built this incredible culture in the thirds and fourths at the CY’s. I’ve never enjoyed footy more than I do now, and its because of the hard work they put in, especially Gatty who spends countless hours doing all of this for us, and cannot thank him enough. I just hope they have no ambitions of stepping away, but maybe we can all step up for them to keep what we have going and make it easier on them.”
A huge congratulations to Cal on his milestone game, we are one lucky club to have you with us and we can’t wait to watch you run out this weekend for the 150th time in the blue and gold. Good luck!
You can watch Cal and his fourths take on Kew FC this Saturday, 11:40am at Lofts Reserve.
Some messages for Cal ahead of his 150th milestone game from his mates and teammates:
“All leadership on and off the field and pure class on both sides of his body. An extremely loyal and humble bloke (except when he reminds us of the goal he kicked on his left from 65 in the 2014 GF). Everyone loves to play with him. He may move like a slug but he’s as strong as an ox in the contest. All the best on your 150!” – Beau Coyle
“I remember the very first time I played with Cal in under 18s I was in awe, and still am, at how he could consistently get to so many contests throughout a game. It seemed as if he would win the ball at one contest, hit a target up the ground and then be roving the pack or winning the hard ball at the contest after that. Easily the most consistently dominant and skillful player I’ve ever played with. And how bout that goal on the run on the left in the 2014 senior grand final, he must have been 65m out! Footy ability aside, definitely one of the nicest and most humble blokes you’ll ever meet, a true gentleman of CYs. If not for Cal Richards aka The Slug I would likely not be still running around on a Saturday.” – Michael Cavarra
“I’ll try keep it simple as I could write pages on my relationship with Cal Richards…. Playing with him, for me is extremely comforting. That might sound a little strange, but having him out there is incredibly relaxing for me, and at times he’s the only one who believes I can actually play, myself included. I’ve been ready to give it up over the years, especially after doing an ACL, but he consistently puts time and effort into getting my head ‘back in the game’ and pushing me to be better. We all know he’s an absolute jet on the field, but for me, it’s the closest I’ll ever get to playing with an actual brother and I’m keen to keep that going as long as I possibly can. I love that man!” – Dan Price
“The most skillful and consistently reliable footballer I’ve played with. If you haven’t watched him for yourself, you can’t understand the influence he has on a game, a season and a club’s overall success. Even more reliable as a friend off the field. One of the most beautiful and loyal humans I’ve met. Also a bit of a fashionista.” – David Streets