Born: 8 March 1986
Recruited from: Southport
Draft Details: Selection #76 (8th round) 2003 National Draft
AFL Debut: Rd 22 2004 – Richmond v Sydney, MCG (28 August)
Jumper Number: 4
AT A GLANCE: Andrew Raines was what AFL recruiting scouts call a ‘punt’. He was drafted by Richmond with the third-last pick in the 2003 AFL National Draft, No.76 overall and ahead of only ex-Geelong and Carlton utility Simon Fletcher, who went to Richmond at No.79, and Kyle Archibald, a NSW/ACT U18 player who went to Richmond at No.81. Fletcher, who played six games for the Tigers to take his career tally to 90, and Archibald, who never played at the elite level, are long gone from the AFL scene but Raines, son of AFL champion Geoff Raines, is set for a long and prosperous career.
It is a career that started on the Gold Coast after the ex-Richmond, Collingwood and Essendon player headed north as a foundation playing member of the Brisbane Bears, finishing a career that included a premiership with the Tigers in 1980. Andrew Raines was not even one when the family headed north and he learned his football first at XXX and later at Southport. Always a standout junior, he saw older brother Nick spend two years on the Brisbane Lions rookie list before his own chance came after he’d been a member of the Queensland side that finished runners-up in the division two Australian U18 championships in 2003. He was a consistently good player with Coburg in the VFL in his first year at Punt Road and made his debut in round 22 against Sydney. Richmond lost by 64 points, confirming the wooden-spoon, but Raines had a useful nine touches in a half, wearing No.38, to suggest there was plenty more to come.
And there was. Wearing the No.4 jumper his father had made famous, he played six senior games in 2005 and was an emergency 11 times. In 2006 he hit the jackpot. He played all 22 games as a running defender, was a narrow runner-up to captain Kane Johnson in the B&F and was runner-up to Port Adelaide’s Danyle Pearce in the AFL Rising Star Award. He was rewarded with an Australian jumper for the International Rules series against Ireland. Season 2007 didn’t quite reach the same heights but he still played all 22 games for the second year in a row, grabbed a career-best 30 possessions against the Western Bulldogs in round 4 and topped 20 possessions no less than 11 times. Destined to be a leader at Richmond for a long time, he was included in the 2007 Queensland Team of the Year, chosen for the first time on State of Origin guidelines.