Full Name: JOEL BOWDEN
Date of Birth: 21/06/1978
Height: 188 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Debut: 27/07/1996, Round 17, Hawthorn
Last Game: 15/08/2009, Round 20, Collingwood
Total Games: 265
Total Goals: 174
Honours: Best & Fairest 2004-05 , AFL All Australian Team 2005-06 , International Rules vs Ireland Representative 2001 , 2004 , AFL Central Australia Hall of Fame Inductee 2005 , Radio 8HA Central Australian Football League ( CAFL ) Outback Team of Champions as the Federal Football Club's best player since records began in 1948 . AFL Northern Territory ( AFLNT ) Hall of Fame inductee xxxx . AFL Rising Star nominee 1997 . 100 Tiger Treasures " Goal of Century " Nominee 2008.
Joel arrived at Tigerland as a father/son selection with his father Michael Bowden having played for Richmond, including the 1969 Premiership. Joel wasn’t the first or last of his siblings to play for Richmond, with his older brother Sean playing in the early 90’s and his younger brother Patrick joining him after a stint with the Bulldogs.
Joel was a very impressive junior paying in the Northern Territory, making the 1993 School boys All Australian team and winning the best player of the series and being awarded the J.L. Williams Medal.
This had the Richmond recruiters attention and the jumped at the opportunity to nab him as a father/son selection in the 1995 national draft. Joel has been quoted as saying he felt very lucky to get an opportunity to play for Richmond, because of the set up of club lists back then.
“I was lucky because the father-son rule meant that the club didn’t have to use (early) draft picks. So I was fortunate that Richmond said they would take a punt on me. At that stage we had seniors, reserves, supp. lists. There were probably 50 guys at the club training and playing together and I was just another one. In that sense I feel like I was lucky. Because what I have seen now, so many guys have the talent or ability but they never get the opportunity . . .”
Joel didn’t make his debut until late in the 1996 season, struggling to make an impact in his first few appearances managed to kick three goals as a half forward in a losing effort against the kangaroos in the final game of the season. Joel continued as a half forward in 1997, starting the season very well having kicked 11 goals including a then career high of four against the Eagles before suffering a broken collar bone which would see him miss nine games. Joel did come back in round 18 and continued his good form as he kicked 21 for the season from just 13 games.
Despite playing well as a forward in his early days with the Tigers, it was defence where Joel will be remembered, being a very versatile defender who could intercept mark, control the backline, attack with his booming left boot but also take on much bigger opponents such as Jonathon Brown (Brisbane Lions) despite being just 188cm tall.
Joel will also infamously be remembered as the reason for the ‘rushed behind’ rule changing. During a game against the Essendon Bombers, Joel deliberately and continuously walked back over the goal line, sacrificing a point but also wasting precious time and keeping the ball. Richmond held on to win the game by four points with some coaches praising his football smarts for thinking about the tactic and others saying it was not in the spirit of the game. Since then the rule has changed and a deliberate rushed behind results in a free kick to the opposition.
Joel is a dual All-Australian (2004 and 2005), a dual Australian International Rules Representative (2001, 2004) and a dual Jack Dyer Medalist (2004 & 2005) who ended his 265 game career in 2009 after a thrashing at the hands of the rivals Collingwood. Joel announced his retirement before the game as it was evident Richmond were aiming for youth over experience under caretaker coach Jade Rawlings.
Joel has had a successful post AFL playing career having been the president of the AFLPA, been a member on the Match Review Panel, Laws of the Game Committee, AFL game analysis manager and most recently AFLNT manager of Football Operations.
Joel will be remembered A Tiger who bled yellow and black, never shirked from a contest and who could sell some candy as evidence against the Saints in Round 4 of 2003.
West Alice Springs . Joined Richmond in 1995 as Father ( Mike Bowden ) / Son selection in 1995 National Draft .