Veteran Wests Tigers winger Pat Richards celebrated his 100th NRL appearance in style on Monday as he inspired a late rally that saw his side see off Parramatta.
In a mistake-riddled contest Richards produced one of the few moments of class with a instinctive kick on the edge of the touchline on the last tackle to set up James Tedesco for the go-ahead try in the 22-6 win over the Eels.
Richards also set up Luke Brooks with a kick and added a four-pointer of his own as the Tigers ended a run of two successive losses.
The 33-year-old was a member of the Tigers’ 2005 grand final winning side and scored the try that was created by Benji Marshall’s infamous flick pass to beat North Queensland before embarking on a stellar eight-year career with Wigan in the Super League.
He returned to the Tigers last year and coach Jason Taylor, who he played with at Parramatta earlier in his career, said he’s not surprised that he’s still performing at the highest level.
“It was 20 years ago, but no I’m not surprised because he’s always been a really professional guy,” Taylor said.
“That’s the key to what he does and he’s great to have around the place because his attitude towards professionalism is first class and he’s a great example for the guys.”
Richards, who has represented Ireland at the Rugby League World Cup, said he was tempted to stay in the UK but the lure of the Tigers was too strong to turn down.
“I loved my time over there and it got to a stage where if I didn’t come back I’d probably never come back,” he said.
“I’m just enjoying my time and the opportunity I got to come back and playing in a really young side it’s nice to be an older guy and yeah just enjoying my footy.”