Eric Dalby (2004, 2005-2008)
Episodes: 3818–3870, 3893–4689
Parents: Owen & Maggie Dalby (both deceased)
Foster Parents: Flynn Saunders (deceased) & Sally Fletcher
Foster Siblings: Pippa Saunders & Cassie Turner
Occupation: Student; Cleaner; Mechanic
Dalby, as he liked to be known then, arrived at Summer Bay High having been excluded from Yabbie Creek and it didn’t take long for him to start pushing his weight around their either. Hearing that Henry was going to be dancing at the Noah Memorial Concert, Dalby was soon making fun of him, together with his mate Wazza. Kim however came to Henry’s rescue by giving him a little shove.
The taunting didn’t stop there. Whilst at the concert, Dalby and Wazza again mocked Henry. This time it was Josie that came to the rescue, give him a sharp tug on the ear. Henry, as an act of preservation, tried hanging around with Dalby and his crew but Dalby wasn’t willing to be friends and burnt down the Surf Club Kiosk, letting Henry take the blame and even letting him get a criminal record. Then Robbie and Tash thought it would be a good idea to leave a map to a marijuana crop (which Tasha had found) into Dalby’s locker so that he would get in trouble except that he got in too much trouble, and recieved a severe beating from his abusive father, the wounds of which he could no longer hide.
At this point Flynn began to take an interest in Dalby, but he wasn’t in time to stop him from pushing his father down the stairs during a particularly nasty fight. This resulted in Dalby turning up all bloody and brusied on the Hunter’s doorstep, believing that he’d come to Flynn’s house and subsequently having a seizure.
Dalby was taken to hospital where Morag informed him that he’d probably be charged with murder, or at least manslaughter for his father’s stair-pushing, so Dalby decided to do what any terrified teen would and hightail it to the city, where he hoped to disappear. Unfortunately his injuries made him sick and life as a runnaway on the streets wasn’t any better without those problems. Still, he managed to ellude Flynn, who continued to look for him. He was eventually found after Dan and Leah, stranded in the bush after the light plane they were on crashed, turned up at the secluded caravan he had been hiding out in.
Dalby helped the couple back to civilization, where he was immediately pounced on by Flynn and Alf, who revealed that Alf was in fact his grandfather. Flynn and Sally went back to Dalby’s caravan to try and convince him to come and stay with Alf, who was after all family and they told him that the charges regarding his father’s death had been dropped. It had been ruled that his father died of a heart attack brought on by high alochol levels in his blood stream so Dalby had little or nothing to do with it. It meant he was off the hook with the cops and could safely return to The Bay, if he wanted to so Dalby agreed to go and live with Alf. His stay did not last long though as Alf caught him “shooting up” and jumped to conclusions. Dalby didn’t have time to explain that he was taking insulin for his diabetes, and wasn’t interested in trying after he’d seen that Alf wasn’t willing to give him a chance. As a compromise, he moved in with Flynn and Sally, who were quite happy to become his official foster parents in time. At this point he decided that he wanted to be called “Ric” as opposed to Eric or Dalby as Eric was what his dad had called him, and Dalby was just too impersonal for someone trying to make friends for once.
Speaking of friends, despite his run ins with Henry, Matilda had reached out to him, understanding that it must have been hard for him to live with the abuse his father inflicted upon him, as well as the stress of having to hide it from everyone. She understood why he was the way he was, and that he could be willing to change his ways now that he no longer had to deal with that situation. Unfortunately, Ric wasn’t quite used to the goody two shoes life of most summer bay residents, and ended up sneaking Matilda off for a drunken pash in a nightclub, making her think that she liked him, when he was actually only after a bit of fun. Sally explained that girls don’t think like that, and if they kept on that road, Ric would soon have Matilda doing something that she’d regret and Ric didn’t want that, so he backed off, leaving Matilda crushed and questioning her appeal as a love interest. Ric also clashed with Robbie when it was revealed that the needle Robbie had trodden on was actualyy one of Ric’s insulin needles that he had dropped. A furious Robbie, having spent months thinking he had HIV, slammed Ric against a locker.
When Ric ran into a cute girl on the beach, she convinced him to go for a ride on a jetski, except that the jetski turned out to be stolen. She promptly disappeared, leaving Ric with some explaining to do. A few days later he saw her again and she convinced him to go skinny dipping, telling him she’d race him. As Ric swam out though, she swam back to shore and stole his clothes, forcing him to cycle home with a bunch of strategically placed leaves to hide his shame, and was seen by Matilda, Colleen and Beth. Later at The Miss Groper competition, she appeared again but this time was introduced as Cassie Turner, grandaughter of Colleen’s arch nemsis Joy Foxton. Unfortunately just after the Pageant, Joy tragically collapsed of a heart attack and was pronounced brain dead in hospital. After the truth about Cassie’s abusive past was revealed and Joy finally let go, Cassie moved in with Sally and Flynn and a relationship between her and Ric finally took off.
When Callan turned up in town Ric was horrified to see him hanging around with Matilda but refused to reveal why. He even stole drugs from Callan’s car in order to prove Callan was bad news but Colleen saw him with them, and told Sally and Flynn about it, just as DOCS were there. When Matilda disappeared with Callan Ric finally confided what he knew about Callan, that they had been friends in the city and that Callan was into drugs and date rape. The hunt was on to find Matilda and luckily Ric found her and severly beat up Callan. Somehow while Ric was beating him, a heavily drugged Matilda disappeared. She took shelter in a shed on a farm only to be kept prisoner there by the guy who owned the place as he became convinced she was his dead daughter. Luckily she managed to escape and called Ric who came to her rescue. Later Ric turned up at the hospital to see Callan and threatened him in no uncertain terms to get out of town or else. Luckily Callan took the hint and left.
Things between Ric and Cassie, meanwhile were going well and they eventually took the step to sleep together but straight after Cassie started to act strange and on seeing her with another guy, Ric assumed the worst. It turned out the guy was her abuse sponser and Cassie was livid with Ric for not trusting her and they split up. Cassie then began dating a guy called Aidan who Ric was incredibly jealous of and they clashed on numerous occasions. When Aidan’s brother violently attacked Ric though, he was rescued by Flynn and the two shared a touching moment when Flynn called him ‘son’. Meanwhile Cassie saw the light and the two were reunited.
Ric wasted no time in getting together with Belle and around this time quit school, taking on a job in a garage as an apprentice mechanic. He was bullied at work though by the Boss’s nephew who played a number of dangerous tricks on him including framing him for things and burning his legs with acid. With Belle’s persuasion, Ric eventually told his boss at the garage but wasn’t believed until one day Dom went too far and lent Ric a faulty jack. What he didn’t realise though was that there was no air in the tires and the jack collapsed, crushing Ric in full view of everyone. Dom announced that he had only meant to scare Ric and in doing so dobbed himself in and was fired.
Meanwhile Cassie had got together with Martha’s brother Macca and become a victim of domestic abuse. In comforting her, she and Ric began to get close again and he eventually split from Belle just before Jack and Martha’s wedding. Whilst a group of their friends, including Belle and his cousin Martha, were lost in the bush, Ric clashed with Macca, who was trying to win Cassie back. Cassie though chose Ric and when a rescued Belle confided that she wanted Ric back, he was forced to break it to her that he and Cassie were back together. Belle refused to give up without a fight though and tried a number of attempts at getting Ric back, including getting him really drunk and trying to seduce him at a party. Luckily he and Cassie saw through Belle’s attempts and she quickly backed off, getting together with Drew.
Things with Cassie weren’t to last though as she started to develop feelings for old love Macca and cheated on Ric with him. They were eventually found out when Ric came home early from a course to surpise Cassie, only to find her pashing Macca on the sofa. Devastated, Ric reacted with fury and for days nobody could get through to him but one person was there to support him. Matilda, who had always held a torch for him, was there to support him and after some gentle cajoling from Macca, of all people, Ric and Matilda got together. As a couple Ric and Matilda worked really well and things at home were also looking up with Alf and Martha now living in the Caravan Park House and Ric approving of Sally’s new love interest, Brad. It wasn’t to last though when Ric’s beloved foster mother Sally was stabbed and left for dead, Ric had no way of knowing that Rocco, the ex gang member, who Sally had given a room to, was responsible. When Sally eventually remembered who was behind her attack, Ric could not control his anger and went after Rocco, physically attacking him at the beach. When Rocco later disappeared, Ric went to see his brother Johnny to ask where he was and turned up at the address Johnny gave him, only to find him severely beaten and fighting for life. When Sally, Brad, Matilda and he police turned up though, it looked to them like Ric had attacked Rocco and he was arrested. With no evidence to prove that anyone other than Ric was at the scene and Rocco losing his fight for life, Ric was taken to court and found guilty of Rocco’s murder.
Sent to prison, Ric found himself in a prison with none other than Johnny, who seemed to have an abundance of Prison officers onside and set about getting revenge on Ric for killing his brother. On the outside though, Matilda had come up with a plan to get Ric out. Using Lucas as a ploy, they set Johnny up and he unwittingly revealed who had actually bashed Rocco. Taking their ‘evidence’ to the police, they were able to arrest the real culprit and Ric was released. Him and Matilda then decided to take their relationship to the next level.
It wasn’t the last we had seen of Ric’s temper though when Cassie rescued a girl called Lily from the clutches of an abusive boyfriend and bought her to live at the Caravan Park House. At her party, Ric walked in on new boy Jules, trying to kiss an obviously upset Lily and after some goading from Jules Ric lashed out causing Lily to move out into a hostel.
Ric went to see her though and managed to convince her that he would never hit her. She then moved back in with them. Her stay only proved to be temporary though, as she attempted to rescue Matilda from drowning only for Ric to end up rescuing her. She was taken to hospital before deciding to make a fresh start away from the Bay.
Ric was also there for Matilda when her mother unexpectedly passed away, and found himself caught in the middle of a difficult situation when a grieving Tony slept with Lucas’s ex Naomi and Ric knew but failed to say anything. When Lucas eventually told her, Matilda was furious that Ric already knew but he succeeded in making it up to her by having her mother’s ring adjusted for her.
He managed to convince Lucas to make up with Tony and supported his granddad as he had tests on his eyesight. But his main concerns came from Matilda, who began spending time with a new crowd of people including a guy called Rueben. After her friends trashed his house, she admitted she was feeling isolated and despite Ric’s best attempts to reassure her, she left town with Rueben and his friends. He attempted to bring her back but Matilda wasn’t interested, and he was devastated to spy her kissing Rueben. After he went missing in a storm she returned and told him the kiss hadn’t been her doing and they reunited.
He and Matilda talked about her moving in with him but Sally and Ric weren’t keen so she moved in with Martha instead. After Sally’s aborted wedding to Brad, he headed off to the city on a course, returning to help pick Sally up from her downer.
Having got Drew a job at the garage he was then reluctantly left trying to save Drew’s back when he got involved in drag racing. His first attempt to talk him out of it ended up with them both arrested and their second attempt ended with them nearly being killed. When Lucas started a relationship with Lisa he borrowed Ric’s keys to go and save her ,and Ric and Drew were forced to go after him. They wound up being chased by Denni who had Lisa in his car and though they thought they had shaken him off, it actually transpired that Denni’s car had gone down an embankment and Lisa had died.
Ric was gutted to discover that Matilda had been looking at universities away from home and after a romantic gesture of a scooter, they had a heart to heart and Ric was talked into the idea of going with her. Ric was worried that Matilda was pregnant when he found a pregnancy test. It was revealed to belong to Emma and both Matilda and Ric agreed that they were not ready for such a step. Matilda ran out of her exams and decided to resit year twelve, leaving Ric, who had his heart set on a new life in the city, gutted.
He began getting persistent texts from Viv, a client at the garage and was surprised when Viv planted a kiss on him. Despite him telling her he wasn’t interested, they began to get close, with Ric confiding that he felt under appreciated by Sally and Matilda. Matilda though was jealous and asked him to stop seeing Viv. He agreed but when he met to tell Viv, she kissed him and it was witnessed by Mattie who refused to believe he was innocent. Viv offered him a hotel room at The Sands to use to make up with Matilda but when they arrived at the room she saw a card welcoming ‘Mr and Mrs Anderson’ and raced out, furious that Viv had paid for a romantic gesture that she believed had come from Ric.
He was stuck when Viv’s husband Noel introduced himself and invited Ric and Matilda out to dinner, refusing to take no for an answer. Viv then came round to the garage and when he accidentally spilt something on her top she changed it with Ric watching her through the mirror. Later, she returned to the garage and stripped off to join him in the shower, telling him she had seen him watching her change earlier.
Their dinner that night ended uncomfortably as Noel flirted with other women and Ric ended up comforting Viv the next day. He later agreed to hide her in a caravan despite being threatened by Noel, and accepted a lift and a tie from her in the run up to Matilda’s formal. The car broke down and he was late, upsetting Matilda but when she found out he had been with Viv she dumped him and an upset Ric sought comfort with Viv and they slept together.
After a heart to heart the next day, they made up but when Viv let it slip that she and Ric had slept together, they broke up again. Ric left town for a few days but returned to a surprise from Viv; she was pregnant with his child and wanted him to have nothing to do with it. Noel then came round and let him know that he was unable to have children and that Viv had used him in order to get pregnant. When Matilda overheard him talking to Lucas, she rounded on him furiously and ended things once and for all.
Ric supported Cassie when she was diagnosed with HIV and accompanied her to therapy in the City, a trip which also helped to keep him away from the newly escaped prisoner Johnny Cooper. Ric returned to the bay for Dan’s memorial service and he and Matilda reunited. They headed back to her house but were overheard by Johnny who was hiding in the annexe. He took Matilda captive and began beating Ric but Sam came to his rescue, hitting Johnny over the head with a cricket bat, putting him in hospital and eventually ending his life.
Following Johnny’s attack on Ric, Matilda moved into Summer Bay House.
Viv’s husband Noel came into the picture again and asked Ric if he had heard of no holds barred bare knuckle fighting. After Ric said that he had, Noel offered him $5000 to participate in one fight. Ric declined his offer and later on, Matilda said that she was completely against him fighting. Not taking ‘no’ for an answer, Noel and his ‘friends’ planned to send Ric broke.
The first stage of the plan involved someone from the garage turning up to Summer Bay House to tell Ric that he was being let go because the business wasn’t in a good spot. Ric couldn’t believe it, and was even more annoyed when he started ringing around other employers only to be told that he was a lousy worker.
Ric was annoyed that Drew left town without even saying goodbye, and so he went to the city to catch up with him, with Ric concluding that Belle’s words – he’s a “loser” – were right.
With Ric still not agreeing to fight, the next stage of Noel’s plan involved stealing Ric’s combi, which was later found torched. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the day before Sally left, furniture in Summer Bay House was stolen.
Noel approached Ric again with an offer of double the money. Shortly afterwards Ric caught on that Noel was responsible for his recent troubles.
Yet again, Noel wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, and gave Ric an envelope with a lot of money inside. Ric hesitantly agreed and told Matilda that he was going to see Drew again in the city.
Arriving at the fight club the following evening, Ric was told by Noel that his rival had never lost a fight. But there was no going back…
After the fight, Ric got flashbacks. And when he was questioned by Matilda about the bruises on his face, he said that it happened in the city when he was visiting Drew.
Finding a heap of money, Matilda confronted Ric about where he got it from. Ric made up a story about winning in at a casino. However, Matilda didn’t believe him. Matilda then spoke to Ric and told him that she was hurt that he had lied to her again after they had promised that they would be honest with one another. She told him that one more lie and they’d be over.
Noel, being Noel, turned up again and started talking to Ric about more fights. Now that she knew what was going on, Matilda was more open to the idea of Ric doing it and said that she would support him.
Turning up at the second fight with Matilda and Jazz by his side, Ric was introduced to his next rival – Logan. When Logan took off his shirt a tattoo was visible. He was a part of Johnny Cooper’s gang!
Logan won the fight, and Ric was taken to hospital. Jazz and Matilda made up a story about Ric falling, but Rachel knew that his injuries weren’t consistent with something like that. She told them that she wouldn’t let onto the police this time, but if it happened again, she would tell them.
As if there wasn’t enough drama already surrounding Ric, Viv turned up and later explained to Ric that she was experiencing complications with the pregnancy. Having been told that his unborn baby boy would be born with significant learning and physical disabilities, Ric was left in a difficult situation, when Viv revealed that she and Noel had mixed feelings as to whether to go ahead with the pregnancy. Ric and Matilda told her that they would support her either way and even Noel appeared to have a change of heart.
However, that wasn’t to last for long. Noel arranged to meet up with Ric again and blackmailed him into another fight by saying that if he didn’t go ahead with it Viv and the baby would be at risk.
With the situation now even more out of hand than it was to begin with, Ric contacted the police, which led to him agreeing to fight so that he could find out the exact time of the next one.
Throughout all of the chaos, however, Ric hadn’t completely forgotten about Matilda. One year on from the death of her mum, Ric supported her through the tough day.
Shortly before the fight, Viv told Ric that she was going to leave the house while Noel was out. Ric was worried, but Viv insisted that she could do it.
Along with Alf and Tony, Ric arrived at the venue. However, Viv was there too, as Noel had seen her packing a suitcase earlier. When Viv started feeling unwell, Noel postponed the fight for a couple of minutes. Sirens were then heard and the people in the venue started to run off. Logan and Noel were left standing there as Rachel came in to check Viv. Soon after Rachel entered, the police arrived and Jack and Fitzy handcuffed a now gun-wielding Noel.
With the crazy situation with Noel over, Ric had to deal with Viv, who was having complications with the baby.
Noel turned up at the Caravan Park wanting to know where Viv was, but Ric insisted that it was important for him to get out of there, since there were people after him.
Viv later returned and lost the baby. Matilda supported her and Ric and arranged a small memorial.
With no job and very little money, Ric became a security guard. He was paired up with Larry Jefferies for one job and was in for a shock when he saw Kane Phillips raid a jewellery store. Cautiously entering the store, Ric recognized Kane but didn’t have time to react as he held him and Larry at gunpoint. The two managed to escape – Larry with head injuries and Ric unscathed. Later, however, he suffered from panic attacks. Rachel told him that the stress of recent events had started to get on top of him and suggested that he took it easy for a while.
When Alf bough The Bait Shop he asked Ric if he’d like to become a business partner. Ric agreed but came home to a suprise, with Matilda telling him that she’d been accepted into uni in WA. Matilda wanted him to join her, but Ric wasn’t so sure. They went over ways of staying together, but the stress on their relationship was beginning to show. They decided to split and Mattie left for uni alone.
Alf could see that his grandson was miserable without Matilda and fired him from The Bait Shop before giving him a one-way ticket to Perth.
Arriving in Perth, Ric was shocked to find someone in Matilda’s bed. But after explaning that nothing had happened, they re-united and presumably lived happily ever after.
Credit to emmasi for the early parts of the profile