Mark Papps is proving to be a valuable commodity with his experience in goal for the Richmond Athletic division one football team this season. Photo Jacob Page.

Back to the future for Richmond goalie


Richmond Athletic goalkeeper Mark Papps says he will have to invest in a spa pool if his Nelson Bays Division One football feats are to continue.

At 51-years-old Mark is turning back the clock.

Once a national league goalkeeper for Nelson United, Mark was playing in the outfield in Nelson fourth division football last year.

A “tap on the shoulder from Richmond coaches Matt Campbell and Steve Clark” changed all that.

“They asked me in the offseason what I was up to and the rest is history.

“Playing fourth division was good for me… At my age, I won’t run on the streets but I will chase a football.”

He says playing  in goal gave him a chance to show his sons Tom, 15 and William, 10, that he had the skills that many remember him for back in the day,

“The boys have seen me run around in the lower grades but it’s nice to be playing division one football especially when they are keen on the game.”

Richmond Athletic underlined their league credentials with a 4-2 win over defending champions Suburbs Seals at Saxton Fields.

Mark says he’s enjoying playing with a young team, including some teenagers in the defensive line.

“It’s important to keep talking and giving them encouragement and when you can see the improvement it’s really pleasing especially against Seals because we were lacking a bit of height today. With two trainings a week at the moment, a spa pool might not be too far away.”

Coach Matt says the team is building nicely with youth at both ends of the pitch and the return of Stirling Sports premiership striker Ben Harris not too far away, all set to make the team stronger.

He says lessons have been learnt from last year when they started hot and limped home.