Richard Pang’s career footy highlight occurred playing for Subiaco against Peel during the 2000 WAFL season and it remains a vivid memory: ‘We were on fire and I found the ball a lot that day - I couldn’t have played better and got 48 possessions.’
His teammate Richard Ambrose also played the game of his life taking 20 marks at centre half forward and Pang remembers Ambrose joking with him after the game, saying: “Bloody hell Pangy, the day I take 20 marks, you go and get 48 possessions.”
Richard Pang was raised in Canberra and was a basketball player until the age of 15, when he joined the Eastlake Football club.
He excelled and was selected in the ACT schools team who travelled to Darwin for the annual Secondary Schools Championships, where the underdog ACT team pulled off a famous upset victory against powerhouse Victoria
Richard’s father Henry Pang was born in Australia after his parents migrated from Canton in the 1930’s, and the family settled in Canberra where Henry was the first Australian born child in his family.
Henry studied hard and graduated from university as an obstetrician and then began work as a General Practitioner.
‘My dad was from a traditional Chinese family, however my grandparents encouraged him to be as Australian as possible.’ says Pang.
Richard played 5 years of senior football in Canberra including playing three times for the ACT representative team and culminating in winning the Alex Jesaulenko Medal for best player in Eastlake’s 1996 grand final victory.
He was invited to Melbourne to participate in the 1997 AFL Draft Combine, and although he was not drafted, he was invited to do pre-season training for Essendon.
Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy advised him he would need to leave the ACT to achieve higher honours in the game and Richard took his advice, signing with the Perth Demons.
He played strongly for Perth and his form attracted the attention of the state selectors who picked him to play in the West Australia State of Origin team to play South Australia in Adelaide.
Although Perth narrowly missed the finals in 1999, Richard thrived alongside future AFL stars including Darren Glass, Chance Bateman and Leon Davis.
Richard’s stunning run of form was acknowledged when he finished second in the Sandover Medal for the WAFL’s Best and Fairest player and he also won the Butcher Medal for Perth’s Best and Fairest player.
‘Pangy was the perfect teammate,’ Perth teammate and friend Richard Kelly says.
At the end of 1999, Richard signed with Subiaco and from that point he was plagued by injuries leading to the 2001 season where he missed most matches and subsequently retired.
After 13 knee operations, Richard retired and took up surfing, making regular trips to the Mentawai Islands off the coast of Sumatra in Indonesia to indulge his new passion.
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