This is an attempt to identify who could be considered as Richmond's Best Player in 1916.
For each round I document where a newspaper's match review could identify which player/s were the best in that game.
Then I document who was also listed as playing well based across all the newspapers. The Runners-Up are listed alphabetically.
Round 1 v Collingwood.
The Herald: "No one showed out more prominently at Richmond than Hede"
Richmond Guardian: "First place in the first game must be given unreservedly to Reg Hede, who jumped into his best stride at the beginning and fairly left his opponent standing. Hede was not only the best for Richmond but the best in the game."
The Argus: "Two of the best men on the Richmond side were comparatively new, Hede who played one or two game last season, showing fine form on the wing. A young rover named Alessio , a son of the old North Melbourne player, distinguished himself"
The Age: "James showed that soldiering had not affected his play, and beside him Thorpe Hede, Harley (four goals), Herbert, Moffat, Bettles, Alessio, and Maybury showed well"
The Australasian: "Richmond's most prominent performers were James and Herbert, who besides marking well, worked valiantly in the ruck. Hede, on the wing was fast, sure, clever and persistent, following up well. Alessio , son of the old North Melbourne player and cricket umpire roved really well. Thomas improved as the game went on . Cronk was really capable flank artist, and Thorp and Bettles and Taylor -a new man - all shaped well."
Winner: "Hede on the wing was certainly their finest player and his stubborn defence all day was a feature of the match. Alessio (a new man) showed much promise as a rover, and James and Herbert following were right at their top. Others doing good work were Thomas, Taylor, Maybury, and Barnes. "
Footy Record: "Hede was a scintillating star in Richmond's colours on Saturday he was one of the most prominent men in the match."
Rhett's pick: Reg Hede.
Runners-Up (alphabetical): H Alessio, A Bettles, B Herbert, H James, , P Maybury, V Thorp
Round 2 v Fitzroy
Richmond Guardian: "First place amongst the Richmond players goes to Barney Herbert. Seldom if ever had the big fellow played a better game."
The Argus: "Thorp's defence for Richmond was so fine that it marked him as the leading player for the match."
The Australasian: "Thorp was by far Richmond's best man, his defensive efforts being splendid , and noted for great dash and daring. "
Weekly Times: "Prominent performers were Thorp..."
The Age: "They were best served by Thorp (back)...."
Winner: "On the Richmond side, Cronk and Thorp could be bracketed together for consistent and sustained efforts."
Rhett's pick: Vic Thorp
Runners-Up (alphabetical) Alessio, Bettles, Cronk, Herbert, Eason, Hall, Moffat, Thomas,
Round 4 v Collingwood
The Herald: "Alec Eason…was the best man on the ground, roving in fine style."
The Argus: "In the first half there was no one equal to Eason who handled the ball wonderfully well, but he died away towards the finish."
Winner: "Hede was again to the fore for Richmond. He played dazzling football."
The Australasian: "For the losers Eason was the prominent man on the ground the first half."
Footy Record: "The Best Man in the Richmond v Collingwood game was undoubtably Alec Eason"
Rhett's pick: Alec Eason. (certainly in the first half)
Runners- Up (alphabetical): Alessio Burke, Hede, Herbert, Maybury, Moffatt, Stewart, Thorp, Thomas,
Round 5 v Fitzroy
Richmond Guardian: "Eason was without a doubt the best man on the ground. His dash and his skill had a lot to do with Richmond's record win."
The Age: "Eason roving was the best man on the ground "
The Argus: "Best players were Thomas..."
The Prahran Telegraph: "Richmond's best were Eason (best man on ground)"
Footy Record: "Alec Eason was again one of the bright shining lights of Richmond"
Winner: "Eason played a great game, supported by..."
The Herald: "It is a difficult matter to individualise the Richmond players for every man on the side showed out to advantage. Eason again proved himself a star of the first magnitude roving and forward."
The Australasian: "Spectacular features were the marking of Herbert and roving of Eason , the Geelong man promising to take some beating as the season's champion. Eason was in grand fettle and had a gala day."
Rhett's pick: Alec Eason
Runners-Up (alphabetical) Bayliss, Hall, Herbert, Maybury, Richardson, Thorp
Round 6 v
Round 7 v
Round 8 v Fitzroy
The Herald: "Eason played a brilliant game for Richmond and was instumental in the victory over Fitzroy."
Richmond Guardian: "Again the best was Gee-up representative Alec Eason who played a hard and clever game right through"
The Age: "For the winners, Eason..."
The Argus: "The finest player for Richmond was undoubtably Eason, whether roving, attacking, or defending..."
Winner: "Eason roved n quite his best Geelong style and is providing a valuable addition to the Yellow and Black."
The Australasian: "Eason was again their best man."
Richmond Australian: "The players who shone out to most advantage for the winners were Maybury, Eason..."
Weekly Times: "Eason, Thorp,..."
Rhett's Pick: Alex Eason
Rd 9 v
Rd 10 v Collingwood
Richmond Guardian: "Herbert was the most outstanding figure of all".
The Age: "Thomas, Maybury, Alessio, Hede, Burke, Herbert Eason were perhaps a little bit above others."
The Argus: "Four men in Richmond colours were largely responsible for their material victory, and in order they may be named as Eason (who was at his best), Maybury, Hede, and Alessio."
Winner: "Particularly struck with the fine play of Alessio…Herbert's fine work in the ruck made him a noticeable figure all day. Burke was again their finest defender"
The Australasian: "The winners had 4 superb men in Eason roving and forward and who never tires, Maybury in the centre, Hede on the wing, Alessio roving and forward. Eason's powerful build seems capable of standing more buffeting that the others. "
Richmond Australian: "There was some brilliant play, Barney Herbert in the ruck who hardly ever failed to get the ball. Alec Eason played a fine dashing game right through, Maybury in the centre easily had the call over McHale of 'Wood, Hede on the wing went with great guns."
Prahran Telegraph: "Best players for the winners were Thomas, May bury, Allesio,Hede, Bourke, Herbert and Eason."
Weekly Times: "Alessio, Herbert, Eason, Maybury, Thomas, Hede, Burke"
Footy Record: "If asked to name the best man, I would plump for Alec Eason, whose work roving could not be surpassed. Next in order comes Hede, whose dashing play on the wing was a feature of the game"
Rhett's Pick - Unknown.
Could be shared around Eason, Herbert, Alessio, Maybury, Hede, Thomas,
End of Season:
"In many fine games this season Eason has shone out as a great footballer and nobody will attempt to argue that there is a better rover than him left in the game. He has done famously for Geelong in the past but for the Gee-Rich this season I fancy he has done even better."
The Winner, Sept 13th 1916, pg 4
"..but the most gratifying feature of the season was the improvement shown by a large number of junior players. To mention a few - Alessio, Shand, Harley (Richmond)"
"Eason (Richmond) was the champion rover of the season and the same club provided the most promising and improved junior in H Alessio"
"...and Thorp were as reliable as usual in guarding the goal"
The Leader Sept 16th 1916, pg 19:
"Judging the performances on the season's play I would allot the honours to the following"
The paper then lists their best player for each of the main positions. Thorp is listed at Full Back. Alessio is listed as Rover.
They do not list club by club who was the best players, but rather in main positions.
Of the 13 matches, you could identify
Rd 1 - Hede
Rd 2 - Thorp
Rd 3 - Maybury
Rd 4 - Eason
Rd 5 - Eason
Rd 6 - Thorp
Rd 8 - Eason
Rd 9 - Burke/Thomas
Rd 12 - Hede
SF - Alessio/Eason