IF RICHMOND causes a sensation by selecting mid-season recruit Marlion Pickett to make his debut in the Grand Final, it won't be the first time a Tiger has achieved this rare feat.
The first debutant to represent the yellow and black in a Grand Final was 20-year-old Billy James, who booted a classy goal that sealed Richmond's first premiership in 1920.
James remains the only player to win a flag in his only League game but, as AFL.com.au revealed last year, his story was long shrouded in myth for almost a century.
According to footy folklore, the little man had made just one League appearance because the following off-season he received a serious foot injury after copping friendly fire on a rabbit-hunting trip and never played footy again.
However, it was fake news.
Some impressive investigative work by footy history enthusiasts confirmed that the hunting incident actually took place – but four years later than originally thought.
A screenshot of the newspaper story that debunks the legend. Picture: January 16, 1925 edition of The Argus.
Research also showed that James had abandoned pre-season training at Richmond early in 1921 and returned home to play for Kyabram.
James was just the second of five players to be blooded in Grand Finals, the most recent being Collingwood's Keith Batchelor 67 years ago.
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