Paul Reiffel played Dowling Shield cricket for Richmond before starting out in the fourth eleven in 1982-83. He made his senior debut in December 1983 at 17 years of age and played his 91st and final game in 2002 at the age of 36.
Paul was recognised throughout his career as a “big occasion” player and no more so than in the finals games he played for the Tigers. In two Semi Finals and two Grand Finals he took 17 wickets at 14.18 and scored 212 runs at 70.67. Richmond went on to win Premierships in 1989-90 and 1999-2000. Although not an out and out fast bowler, batsman throughout the world suggested he bowled “a heavy ball” at just short of a length, not easy to get away. If conditions were right his right arm deliveries would move out, but it was his off cutter that was deadly.
He was selected in Victorian and Australian under age teams during his teens, progressing to the State senior team in 1987-88 and then the Australian Test team in 1991-92, becoming Richmond’s 11th Test representative. Paul’s 337 first class wickets for Victoria in 92 games makes him the state’s leading wicket taker of all time. For Australia he played 35 Tests and 92 One Day Internationals, taking over 100 wickets in both forms of the game – only 7 other Australian bowlers have managed that particular milestone.
Paul was a capable if dour right hand batsman in his early years but in the latter part of his career displayed a fine range of attacking strokes. Club supporters still talk of his 100 from just 66 balls in a game at Punt Road in 1997 against a strong St Kilda team that included Shane Warne, Shaun Graff and Adrian Jones. Paul’s overall batting average in Tests of 26.52 is excellent for a number eight batsman.
Paul took 545 First Class and 166 Limited Over wickets during a career that saw him play in all the Test playing countries of his time in the game.
He was appointed captain of Richmond in 1996 and of Victoria in 1999 but because of State and International commitments was rarely seen at District level; he made 1,204 runs and took 152 wickets for Richmond.
Paul won a club bowling award in 1988-89, was selected in Richmond’s Team of the Century, and awarded Life Membership in 1998. He was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 2009.