1980 A Personal Footy Almanac – Round 12, Monday 16 June, v Hawthorn, MCG

“For God’s sake, Moncrieff, learn how to kick!”

No, this wasn’t the rant of a frustrated Hawthorn fan trapped among the Tiger hordes. This was me, sotto voce, willing Hawthorn to make a game of it.

For Richmond fans today, even a small string of wins is regarded as cause for wild celebration. The notion of becoming complacent, bored even, by a winning streak is fanciful in the extreme. But in1980, as the Tigers closed in on consecutive win number nine, the telltale signs were evident among the team and the fans – well, this one, at least.

For Hawthorn, the Queen’s Birthday performance is a microcosm of everything that’s gone wrong with their season. They’ve played well enough, probably better than Richmond in fact. But their finishing has been woeful, particularly in the first half when the game was there to be won.

Michael “Gladys” Moncrieff had a long and distinguished career as Hawthorn’s full forward, though sandwiched between Peter Hudson and Jason Dunstall, his reputation suffers somewhat by comparison. Hawthorn fans would know better but I’d always thought he was a pretty reliable kick for goal. But today, he’s horrible. One goal seven is his miserable return in a performance that should have been match-winning.

By contrast, at the other end, Michael Roach continues his march towards the ton with a workmanlike five goal haul, his day highlighted by a beautiful high mark in the goal square directly below us. Not in the same league as his famous leap over Kelvin Moore, Leigh Matthews and others in the corresponding fixture in 1979, but it’s his best for this year and brings the yellow and black hordes to their feet.

Roach’s mark comes at a time in the game where Richmond is busily shaking off this latest pesky opponent and is forging a solid mid-game lead. The mark stamps the authority we’re bringing to our performances these days, even when, for periods of the game, we’re being outplayed.

The game meanders along through the second half until late in the game, Hawthorn launch a final bid for glory, which is, again, let down by poor conversion. It’s part admiration for their persistence, part yearning for the risky excitement of a close finish that causes my silent berating of the unfortunate Moncrieff.

Maybe I’m a softie. Maybe I’m too young to appreciate just how rare and valuable a nine game winning streak is. As the siren signals a 20 point victory (with five less scoring shots than our opposition), there don’t appear to be too many fellow Tiger supporters feeling my sympathy for Hawthorn. PA systems being what they were in 1980, the club song doesn’t get the full volume airing that it does these days, but at least half of the latest bumper crowd (57,000 – another record for these two teams) belt it out in full voice anyway.

The Wrap
Richmond 4.2 8.6 12.11 16.12 (108)
Hawthorn 1.7 3.15 7.17 11.22 (88)
Goals
Rich: Roach 5, Bartlett 4, Monteath, Rowlings, Weightman 2, Cloke
Haw: Matthews, Paton 2, Bennett, Goss, Martello, Moncrieff, Russo, Tuck, Turner

Major Stats
This was a game won by Hawthorn everywhere except on the scoreboard. Leigh Matthews was best afield with 33 possessions and Peter Russo (30) wasn’t far behind him. Raines and Weightman were Richmond midfield leaders, Jess held the defence together and Mark Lee shaded the imposing trio of Don Scott, Alan Martello and Ian Paton in the ruck. But the decisive stats were up forward where Moncrieff’s one goal seven return was in stark contrast with Michael Roach’s five goals from just eight kicks and Bartlett’s four from 13.

Attendance
57,572 at the MCG

In other games
Nth Melb 15.11 (101) v Essendon 10.12 (72) at Arden Street Oval
Fitzroy 18.15 (123) v Footscray 25.17 (167) at Junction Oval
Melbourne 19.20 (134) v St Kilda 14.8 (92) at MCG
Sth Melb 12.12 (84) v Geelong 21.21 (147) at SCG
Carlton 13.12 (90) v Collingwood 11.19 (85) at Princes Park

The split round contained several highlights. In an absolute bog at Arden Street, North Melbourne posted a solid win over Essendon, putting the Bombers almost out of reach of the finals. Gary Dempsey’s dominant display in the ruck earned him a perfect 10 in the Age Footballer of the Year Award. On the same day, Footscray finally secured its first win for the year with an emphatic performance at the Junction Oval. A ray of hope emerged for the Dogs in the form of young full-forward, Shane Loveless, who kicked eight goals. Melbourne was too strong for St Kilda in the other game between the cellar-dwellers.

South Melbourne was left to rue the League’s decision to play its home game against Geelong at the SCG on the Sunday of the long weekend. Away from its fortress at Albert Park, the Swans crashed heavily for the second successive week, its hold on a finals berth now tenuous. Strange to think that two years later the SCG would be this team’s stronghold.

These days, it’s also strange to think that Carlton would be pitted against Collingwood in a Queen’s Birthday blockbuster at… Princes Park. In a repeat result of the 1979 Grand Final, Carlton comfortably held sway against Collingwood until a late surge by the Magpies brought them to within five points at the finish. Jimmy Buckley’s fifth goal, late in the game, was decisive for Carlton. The crowd of 43,000 was a lockout.

The Ladder
Team                 W   L   D     PF     PA     %     Points
Richmond        10   1    1    1599 1084 147.5   42
Nth Melb           9    3   0    1402  1021 137.3   36
Carlton              9    3   0    1377   1196 115.1   36
Geelong              8   4    0    1346  1132 118.9   32
Sth Melb            7    5   0    1312   1291 101.6   28
Collingwood        6    5    1     1291    1269 101.7     26
Essendon             6    6    0     1245   1139 109.3     24
Hawthorn           6     6   0      1233   1294 95.3      24
Melbourne          4    8    0      1273   1501 84.8      16
Fitzroy                2     9   1       1320   1575 83.8      10
St Kilda               2     9   1       1086   1506 72.1      10
Footscray            1    11  0       1201   1667 72.1       4

(Next Week – Round 13)

About Sam Steele

Stainless (aka Sam Steele) started following Richmond in 1970 when he was 6. This occurred when his mother, under instructions to buy him a Melbourne jumper, found they were out of stock and purchased a Richmond one instead. Despite the decades of heartache and turmoil this fateful decision has brought on Stainless, he is grateful to his mum as he has at least seen his side win a couple of Premierships. After 30 September 2017, his mum is now officially his favourite person.

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