Dog thriving in new role, lauds Bont's 'Michael Jordan' impact

Ed Richards celebrates a goal during the Western Bulldogs' clash against Fremantle in round 14, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

After moving into the Bulldogs' midfield, Ed Richards is learning plenty from some of the game's best.

By Sarah Black
3 hrs ago

JUST in case the star-studded Western Bulldogs midfield wasn't powerful enough, Ed Richards has well and truly stamped his claim as a breakout star this season.

The 24-year-old played the first 108 games of his career off the half-back flank, providing a spark out of defence and a steady head under pressure

But a round six switch saw Richards moved to the midfield, and the eye-catching Dog has thrived in his new role.
It's a position Richards had played as a junior with Hawthorn Citizens and his school side, Carey Grammar, but by the time he was drafted, he was well and truly a half-back flanker.

"It's been good fun. It's difficult, from what I'm used to, but I'm loving every week and learning every week, which is a positive thing," Richards told

"I'm pretty lucky. 'Bonti' (Marcus Bontempelli), he's able to play so many different roles, which is amazing. 'Ads' (Treloar) is having such an underrated year, I don't know why people aren't talking about him more.

"Tom (Liberatore)'s obviously shown what he can do in terms of contested ball, so learning from those blokes ? Jack Macrae hasn't been getting as much midfield time, but he's earned All-Australian blazers in the midfield, so he's another great one to learn off as well. I'm very lucky to learn off those guys every week."

Richards recorded 21 disposals, 12 score involvements and a goal against Fremantle, his first game since missing two matches with concussion.

"I'm happy to be back, it was a bit of a longer lay-off than I was hoping, but that's the way things are at the moment, which I'm not unhappy about," he said.

"If I'm not right to go, I'm not right to go. My doctors did a great job, and I was happy to come out here today. I felt fresh off a two-week lay-off, so really happy to be out there.

"It was more reaction time, and my memory wasn't up to my baseline of testing that I've done in the past. That was the main reason to hold me for an extra week."

Bontempelli was simply superb against the Dockers, finishing with 30 disposals and three goals despite having missed an entire week's training due to illness.

"He likes to think it was a Michael Jordan flu game, but I'm not sure about that," Richards said with a grin.

"He was pretty handy, there was that goal where he was 3 v 1 and kicked a nice one, he loved it and we loved it. His game was outstanding, again."