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Joe kicks on in seniors

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STRAIGHT SHOOTER: Wangaratta footballer Joe Richards, 16, with his mates at school after the teenager’s big goal haul. Picture: MARK JESSER

PERHAPS you don’t have to boot 11 goals in your third senior game to cement your position.

But surely it can’t hurt.

Wangaratta forward Joe Richards, 16, combined set shots, snaps and teamwork to snare 11 majors in the Magpies’ big win over Corowa-Rutherglen on the weekend.

“It was just my day, I guess,” Richards said during lunch at school on Monday.

“I kicked six goals in the first half and it just seemed to go from there.”

The teenager started the season in Wangaratta’s under-18 team, coached by his father Rob, before being promoted against North Albury in round six.

Senior coach Brendan Cairns said Richards had been brought in to provide a crumber in the forward line.

“He knows the right spots to get to, keeps his feet well,” Cairns said. “On the weekend he was lucky enough to get a few goals, but I was more impressed with his forward pressure.”

The Galen Catholic College student comes from a football family, with brother Nick part of Murray Bushrangers, father Rob a former senior coach and grandfather Lenny a premiership player.

The youngster was one of 10 Wangaratta goal scorers in the team’s 156-point victory.

“I got a bit lucky,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll do it again.”

His coach said the challenge for Richards now would be how he followed up his impressive haul.

“As a young player you have good weeks and you have not-so-good weeks,” Cairns said. “Obviously if you kick 11 goals as a 16-year-old, you’re going OK.” 

He nominated one of Richards’ third quarter majors as a highlight.

“He competed really well, he got tackled, he got up, he went back in hard forward and kicked a really good goal,” Cairns said.

Richards has been loving the chance to play senior football.

“It’s a lot more physical and quicker,” he said.

“‘Cairnsy’ has been really good as have blokes like Judd Porter, Matt Grossman and Ben Douthie.

“Hopefully I can keep playing seniors and see what happens from there.”

Article from The Border Mail