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Pat Richards to return for Tigers at Nines

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire is the latest to call on a retired player for the NRL Nines in Perth with 2005 premiership-winning hero Pat Richards expected to lace on the boots for the tournament next week.

Richards received the approval from the NRL on Friday and joins the likes of Corey Parker (Broncos), Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs) and Michael Gordon (Titans) as retired veterans set to take the field.

Richards, 37, played 115 games with the Wests Tigers over two stints at the club.

He spent a decade in the English Super League including two years under Maguire at Wigan.

Richards is currently on the club's coaching staff in a specialist position working with the outside backs.

"I had a really good conversation with him and he wanted to check on his body first," Maguire told reporters at the club's season launch on Friday morning.

"I've had some great experiences with Pat overseas in my time coaching [at Wigan]. I remember telling the players Patty was going to come back and play – there was a massive cheer.

"It just goes to show what Pat Richards means to the organisation."

How the Perth NRL Nines will work

Richards told he thought Maguire was stirring him up when he first approached the former Ireland international.

"It's interesting… it all happened quick," Richards said.

"Never in a million years did I think I'd be back. It's an honour to wear the Wests Tigers jersey again and I'm looking forward to the experience.

"I played in 2014 and 2015 in Auckland it was awesome. The fans get into it and it's a carnival atmosphere.

"It's nice to be around the club and to jump into this is going to be great. I've done a couple of run throughs and had to pass a few medicals.

"The lungs were burning more than the hamstrings."

Wests Tigers officially launched their 2020 campaign at Waterview in Bicentennial Park on Friday morning with the unveiling of their fresh-look squad and high pre-season expectation within the organisation.

The acquisitions of Joey Leilua and Adam Doueihi in recent weeks has put a spring into the step of everyone at Concord – none more so than Maguire.

"The club has been through plenty but we've been able to put that behind us and look forward to what's ahead," Maguire said.

"Like every club we're chasing the date in October. We also know there's a lot of work that needs to be put into that.

"It's good momentum but it's about how we use that now going into round one."

Maguire remained hopeful the trade deal between Wests Tigers centre Paul Momirovski and Melbourne rookie Harry Grant would go ahead despite the final clearance by the NRL reportedly at a stalemate.

"It was happening but now it seems to be at a halt," he said.

"We're hoping that can get resolved soon to get on with things. I'm sure the game will sort that out."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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