Herald Sun Footy Podcast: Richmond legend Royce Hart on when former coach Tom Hafey chose to help him over a teammate in the Bondi surf

Richmond’s game plan under Tom Hafey was largely just kick it to Royce Hart, and the Tigers legend has recalled the preferential treatment he got from his former coach over his teammates.

Hart arrived at Richmond in 1966 from Hobart after the club’s master recruiter Graeme Richmond had offered the now famous recruiting lure of six Pelaco shirts and a Hersh suit for the young bank teller from Tasmania.

A then 19-year-old Hart won a VFL premiership in 1967, one of four in his career, when Richmond defeated Geelong in what is considered one of the classic games of footy.

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It’s fair to say forward Royce Hart was one of Tom Hafey’s favourites.Source:News Limited

Also on this week’s episode, Lauren Wood, Michael Warner, Scott Gullan and Jon Anderson give their Grand Final predictions and debate Jeremy Cameron’s likely move to Geelong, the North Melbourne coaching situation and the virtual Brownlow.


He quickly became an integral part of Hafey’s team, so vital in fact the then Richmond coach left another one of his players out in the surf at Bondi on an end of season trip so he could help Hart get back onto the beach.

“What happened was we were out in the water and the tide at Bondi took us out and we went out about 100 metres,” Hart told the Herald Sun Footy Podcast.

“And Tommy was swimming with Tony Jewell and myself, so I was a bit further out than Tony Jewell and Tommy swam past Tony Jewell and gave me a couple of pushes to get on a wave and I came in and so did Tommy as well.

“So we were lying on the beach on our towels and about 15 minutes later Tony Jewell comes in and he is looking blue and he looked awful.

“And he said why didn’t you come up and get me, and Tommy said back pockets are a dime a dozen centre-half forwards are had to get… I’ve never seen someone look so sick.”

Royce Hart and Tom Hafey at the 1969 Grand final team function.Source:News Corp Australia

Hart, who said he was missing the high-scoring, big-marking and long-kicking style of footy in the past, said his former side was the better defensive side ahead of Saturday’s Grand Final against Geelong but need to find goals.

“I think today Richmond stand a real chance of losing the game if they can’t get their two key forwards (Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt) to kick at least six goals,” he said.

“Because I don’t think key forwards can survive on 10 possessions between them a game and a couple of goals, Lynch and Riewoldt have to kick goals.”

Royce Hart holding the Australian Football Championship trophy after Richmond defeated Sturt at Football Park in 1974.Source:News Corp Australia

Richmond coach Tom Hafey in 1967.Source:Supplied


Originally published asThe day Hafey saved Hart but left teammate in the surf

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