Richards closes in on Botica

James Gordon

Wigan’s Pat Richards needs just five points to leapfrog legend Frano Botica into third place on the club’s all-time points scoring chart.

Richards, 29, has been a key component of the Warriors team for the past seven years, scoring 130 tries and 699 goals in 182 appearances so far.

The Ireland international arrived from Wests Tigers in time for the 2006 season, having finished the 2005 season with an NRL Grand Final winners ring.

He said: “I never saw Frano play, but I’ve heard so much about him since I’ve been here – fans still talk about him fondly- so to be mentioned in the same breath is very humbling. Records like that are down the line, when I finish playing and look back that will be nice.”

Initially signed on a two-year deal, Richards started his Wigan career in the centres before moving out wide following the retirement of Brett Dallas.

His drop goal gave Wigan a 31-30 win over Bradford in the 2007 play-offs, to complete the biggest comeback in Super League history, and the following season he was named Wigan Player of the Year.

In 2010, Richards became the first Australian to score more than 1000 points for the club and went on to equal the club record for most points in a regular season, equalling Andy Farrell’s 388 in 2001.

That year also saw him crowned Man of Steel, although he picked up an achilles injury in the 2010 Super League Grand Final win over St Helens, which forced him to miss the first eight rounds of the following season.

Wigan travel to Bradford on Sunday for their first away game of the season.