After being delisted by the Saints at the end of 2020, Parker had an outstanding start with South Fremantle in the WAFL and was picked up by the Tigers in the Mid-Season Rookie Draft at pick 10.
Welcome to Tigerland, Matthew Parker 🙌
The current @SFFCBulldogs player has been selected by Richmond with pick No.10 in tonight's AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
— Richmond FC 🐯🏆 (@Richmond_FC) June 2, 2021
Head of St Kilda list management, James Gallagher said at the time letting go of the energetic forward “was a really difficult decision to make".
"Matty has such an incredible spirit and it's easy to see why he was so quickly embraced by Saints' fans."
Parker played 19 games for the Saints and recently told Sportsday WA that he "took it (St Kilda delisting) on the chin."
“There wasn’t much talk … no clubs approached me. It was pretty low key and they (Richmond) just popped up out of nowhere. It was great," he said.
Having since been given a lifeline to his AFL career, Parker is sure to add plenty of excitement to the Tigers' lineup.
Parker was called up to face the Brisbane Lions after a stellar performance in the VFL, averaging 22 disposals and eight tackles per game and will go on to play his 20th AFL game.
MP400 added to JR300 👏
Matt Parker will make his Richmond debut against Brisbane tomorrow night.https://t.co/TMDIDUz4yd
— Richmond FC 🐯🏆 (@Richmond_FC) July 15, 2021
Should the Tigers be able to unlock a strong defensive side to Parker's game that suits the Tigers' game style, the 25-year-old could become a vital asset to Richmond's hopes of another premiership.
He will follow in the lead of Tiger's midfielder Marlion Pickett, a former Bulldog in the WAFL who was recruited in the Mid-Season Rookie Draft two years prior and has gone on to become a two-time premiership player for the Tigers.
"Marlion was the one who got him down to South Freo and took him under his wing and has been a mentor to him and they are also really good mates," Tigers recruitment manager Matt Clarke told Richmond Media.
The adversity Parker has faced is sure to fuel a fire that could just spark something the Tigers have been starved of in the past month.
In Round 18, the Tigers will omit young trio Patrick Naish, Riley Collier-Dawkins and Thomson Dow following the clash against Collingwood, and will see three-time Coleman Medallist Jack Riewoldt play his 300th game.