Richards to say goodbye in his final home game

Leaving Wests Tigers is not an unfamiliar feeling for Pat Richards but it's one that doesn't get easier the second time around.

The winger with the golden boot will play his last home game for Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Sunday.

He will join French outfit Catalans Dragons, who play in Britain's Super League, next season.

"I've had a really good time over the last couple of years at Wests Tigers," Richards, of Mount Annan, told Tiger Talk. "It's my last home game, so I'm really looking forward to it.

"I've always enjoyed playing at Campbelltown."

Richards played in the premiership-winning Wests Tigers side of 2005 before leaving to join Wigan in the Super League. What he thought was going to be a brief stay in England turned into an eight-year stint in which Richards won two championships and the prestigious Man of Steel Award in 2010.

He returned to Wests Tigers in 2014 and has provided nothing but entertainment since.

Who could forget the match-winning field goal in round one against the Gold Coast (which Richards classes as his favourite memory from his second stint at the club) or the 54-metre penalty goal against the Bulldogs in round eight?

But at 33, the physical pressure of the NRL can take its toll.

"Rugby league has become more professional; training is harder than it used to be," Richards said.

"Training and playing takes a lot out of you so the more you've got to look after yourself.

"I've had my fair share of using the ice baths this year but I've been fortunate enough not to miss a game through injury which is great."

Richards can't pinpoint the player his enjoyed taking the field with the most — there's too many.

But he isn't shy in pointing to the talent that will ensure a bright future for the club.

"I have really enjoyed seeing the young crop of new guys coming through like James Tedesco, Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks," he said.

"After seeing their development over the last few years, I know they're going to be really good players which is great for the future of the club."

But there will be a gaping hole in at least one aspect of the Wests Tigers attack when Richards leaves.

Who will provide the towering, spiralling kick-offs that instil fear into the opposition?

"A couple of the boys want to start learning," Richards said.

"I've started teaching James Tedesco a little bit. He wants to know how to get it up there and swirl it around.

"He's starting practising — and he's actually pretty good at it — so watch out for him."

Farewell Richards and fellow club legend Keith Galloway at this season's final game at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off: 2pm. Details:


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