Mark Ricciuto AFL Player
Mark Ricciuto, affectionately known as the ‘Roo’, needs no introduction to many footy fans.
The former South Australian Aussie Rules footballer played for the Adelaide Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 2011 and South Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2012, which comes as no surprise since he is often described as among the greatest Adelaide Football Club players of all time. Ricciuto comes from an Italian lineage.
In 1994, when Mark Ricciuto turned 19 he was selected to play as part of the All-Australian Team. His glorious career spanned over 16 years after which he continued his association with the game.
1997 was a great year for Ricciuto where he was selected for the second time to be on the All-Australian Team. Struck by injury in the latter half of the 1997 premiership, he was forced to sit out. However, that did not deter a strong comeback in 1998. He won the club’s best and fairest player award and was selected for the All-Australian once again, while his team went on to win the premiership that year.
In 2000, he was selected for the fourth time for the All-Australian side. In 2001, he took over the reigns as captain of the Adelaide team and went on to become the longest serving captain, a position he held until his retirement in 2007.
2003 was another great year for the midfielder who ended the AFL season with a Brownlow Medal. He was declared joint winner with Sydney’s Adam Goodes and Collingwood’s Nathan Buckley. Not surprisingly, he was reselected for the fourth time for an All-Australian Guernsey. The best & fairest award also followed by the AFC.
In 2004, Mark Ricciuto took over as captain of the All-Australian team and once again received the best & fairest by the AFC as well as the Showdown Medal.
Ricciuto’s fine performances continued in 2005. The year began with reselection as Captain of the All-Australian side. Towards the end of the regular season, an unfortunate incident in a match against the West Coast saw the Roo slapped with a suspension.
He was forced to miss the first qualifying final against St. Kilda and a chance to earn another Brownlow Medal. The Crows eventually lost the match against St. Kilda and ended the season one match short of the Grand Final. However, Mark Ricciuto was awarded the Showdown Medal and the AFL Players’ Association Best Captain.\
Mark Ricciuto Plays 300 Games
In 2006, Ricciuto played his 300th AFL game against North Melbourne and was leading Goal kicker that year the for Adelaide Crows, with 44 goals.
Following an illness, the Roo was ruled out of the last few finals matches of the 2006 season. He won his second AFL Players’ Association Best Captain award the same year.
The Crows did manage to finish in the top two and gain entry into the preliminary final. They finished one match short of the decided after losing to the West Coast Eagles by 10 points in the preliminary final. In August 2007, Mark Ricciuto announced his retirement after being plagued by injuries.
He ended his enviable career with a record number of All Australian selections, which he shares with Robert Harvey of St. Kilda. He captained the All Australian side for two successive years in 2004 and 2005, a feat only matched by Michael Voss and Wayne Carey. Ricciuto retired after playing 312 games out of which he captained Adelaide in 142 games. He ended his career with an impressive 292 goals to his credit.
In November 2007, Ricciuto accepted a coaching role with the national AIS-AFL Academy. His responsibilities included working on state-based programs to support changes to the AFL’s pathway program. He was appointed an All-Australian selector in March 2009 after former teammate Mark Bickley moved on to become assistant coach with the Crows.
Hall Of Fame Member
In June 2011, Mark Ricciuto was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame along with James Hird, Nathan Buckley, and Michael Voss.
For the most part, Mark Ricciuto is one of the most valuable players to represent Adelaide. His strength and power combined with his genuine skill boosted his fortunes as he went on to win several medals and a record eight selection for the All-Australian side. He played an integral role in Adelaide’s first ever premiership in 1997. Unfortunately, consistent injuries cut short Ricciuto’s career, which would otherwise have witnessed some more record-breaking feats.
He was forced to undergo knee reconstruction surgery in 2006.
Post retirement, Mark Ricciuto played for Prince Alfred College in division 4 of the South Australian Amateur Football League. He also played for Waikerie against Renmark in the 2008 Riverland Grand Final, sealing the team’s back-to-back premiership title by kicking the final goal.
The Roo captained the Crows in his last seven seasons. He has always been forthcoming on his views on the game, whether it was skill level, recruitment, or game selections. With the team he was never one to avoid the issue and confess that they did need to work. In 2007, he released his biography “Roo”. Apart from his vast football knowledge, he is also known to have a sharp sense of humour.
He is a special commentator for radio’s Triple M Football. He joined the all-star line-up of Fox Sports AFL commentary team in 2011. He is also a contributing writer for the Adelaide Advertiser and Independent Weekly. He is also a successful publican and hotelier.
Ricciuto was the 51st player to appear for Adelaide and stands third in the most games played. He also has the distinction of being at the second spot in the most number of goals kicked.
According to the Roo, his comeback in 1998 after a severe groin injury in 1997, where the team lifted their first premiership was probably the highlight of his career after being through a very tough phase the previous year.
In the 1998 Grand Final he played the first half at full forward but later switched to half-back at half time, a position that allowed him to have a great impact on the game.
Ricciuto won the first ever Showdown Medal in 2000. In a game against the Port Power, he collected 41 disposals, 11 clearances and four goals. This included a snap over his shoulder to give Adelaide the lead in the last quarter. The medal is presented to the player judged best afield in the Showdown. He picked up two more medals in 2004 and 2005.
Ricciuto was an ambassador for the Adelaide Football Club in 2008. His legendary status in the AFL has brought him a number of product endorsement deals over the years, which includes Nike and the Foster’s Group.
He continues to be a part of the Fox Footy Channel, sharing his views as an expert broadcaster and commentator for live games, NAB Cup pre-season games, and the AFL Finals Series games. His rise from a junior with the Waikerie Magpies Football Club to a top player in the AFL comes as no surprise given his exceptional talent, natural skills, and instilled work ethic combined with hunger for the game.
Mark Ricciuto Career Stats:
Position: Midfield, utility
Debut: Waikere (1991) Adelaide Football Club (1993)
• West Adelaide 1992 – 1993 – 26 games and 7 goals
• Adelaide (AFL) 1993 – 2007 – 312 games and 292 goals
• 2001 – 2007 – Captain of Adelaide (AFL)
• Member of the premiership team for Adelaide – 1998 AFL
• Member of the pre-season premiership team for Adelaide – 2003 AFL
Matches For South Australia:
• 5 State of Origin games for South Australia
International Matches For Australia:
• 4 games for Australia 1998, 2000
• Best and Fairest for Adelaide (AFL – Malcolm Blight Medal ) 1998, 2003, 2004
• All Australian 1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 (Captain), 2005 (Captain)
• Brownlow Medal winner 2003 (Brownlow Medal Runner up in 2004)
• 1993 AFL Rising Star Nominee
• Twice AFL Players Association Best Captain in 2005 and 2006
• Leading Goal Kicker 2006 (44 goals)
• Best Team Man 1994, 2003
• Merv Agars Medallist 1996, 1997, 1998, 2004
• Player life member of Adelaide (AFL)
• Player life member of the AFL
• Games Record holder for Adelaide (as of 2007)
• Quickest player ever to reach 300 games (13 years and 83 days)
• 2nd youngest player to reach 300 games (31 years and 43 days)
• Inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame 2011
• Inducted into the South Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2012
• VFL/AFL Italian Team Of The Century – Captain 2007