Written by Callum Walker
Pat Richards arrived in Wigan fresh from winning the NRL title with Wests Tigers in 2005 and quickly became an accomplished goal-kicker, adding an extra string to his impressive bow. Born and raised in Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia, the winger became an honorary Wiganer.
Over the course of seven years at the Lancashire club, Richards played 244 games, scoring 167 tries and kicking an astonishing 898 goals and four drop-goals to notch up nearly 2,500 points.
He was named Wigan’s Player of the Season in 2008 after scoring 19 tries in the campaign and two years later set the record for the most points by a Wigan player in a Super League match. Five tries and nine goals equated to 38 points during a 58-0 win over Catalans.
Moreover, the total of 462 points that Richards scored over the entire 2010 season (including playoffs and Challenge Cup) set a new club record at Wigan. In fact, the winger was Super League’s top points scorer for four years in a row – 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 (he was also the league’s top try-scorer in 2010 with 29).
Richards’ accolades did not end there however, as he became the first Australian to score over 1,000 points in a Wigan shirt in just his fourth season at the club – a sign of how integral he had become for the Warriors in their hunt for silverware. In fact, he was so key for Wigan that he won the Man of Steel in 2010 in what was the club’s first Grand Final-winning year since 1998.
He went on to win two Challenge Cups (2011 and 2013) and another Grand Final (2013).
It was announced in April 2013 that Richards was to return to the NRL with Wests Tigers but he bowed out for Wigan in style, scoring a try and converting five goals as the Warriors beat Warrington in the 2013 Grand Final.
Richards spent 2014 and 2015 with Wests, scoring 26 tries and kicking 118 goals and three drop-goals in 43 appearances.
An international for Ireland – for whom he scored three tries and kicked 11 goals in seven appearances – the winger made a return to the Super League at the start of the 2016 season with Catalans Dragons, scoring nine tries and kicking 76 goals in 21 appearances.
Richards retired at the end of that season, after accumulating over 3,000 career points. The winger also played two games for the Exiles against England, kicking three goals.
At 6 ft 4 and weighing just under 100kg, Richards was a powerful winger who knew exactly where the line was. A solid defender and a superb communicator, the Aussie was rated incredibly highly by teammates and peers alike and has often been hailed as one of Wigan’s greatest ever overseas signings. Amazingly, Richards was included in just one Super League Dream Team – in 2010.