1980 A Personal Footy Almanac – Round 17, Saturday 26 July, v Geelong, MCG

This feels more like it.

After a topsy-turvey fortnight, walking into a packed MCG for another huge home game has a comforting but invigorating feel. The pressure’s been on me this week with midyear exams in full swing, so it’s great to get outdoors and see the heat turned onto my team instead.

After losing four of its first six games, Geelong was overlooked by many commentators in the first half of the season, but their form since the last time we met them has been just about flawless. Today will be a great test for both sides with the finals just over a month away. Once again, the fans know a blockbuster when they see it and the 70,000 crowd is – you guessed it – another home and away record for these two clubs (one that still stands).

There’ll be no blowout win today with Geelong’s tough defence and moderate attack, but it’s important for Richmond not to start slowly as they’ve done for about the last six matches. Happily, it’s a steady start for the Tiges, but the highlight of an even first quarter belongs to Geelong, with their pacey, mop-headed winger Michael Turner galloping down the members wing, evading a couple of defenders and letting fly from distance with what turns out to be the Goal of the Year. If we didn’t know we had a game on our hands, we certainly do now.

After a dour half in which neither side gives an inch, Geelong takes a narrow but decisive break in the third quarter, kicking six goals to three. We’re much closer than we were against Fitzroy a fortnight ago, but again, the difficulties of playing catch-up footy are manifest when we launch an assault on the goals at the start of the final term but fail to convert enough opportunities. With the crowd at fever pitch, Bartlett lets fly with a shot that splits the middle. However, the few Richmond fans whose heads don’t reach skywards with triumph see the ball land on the goal line, bounce straight up and into the eager hands of the oncoming Geelong defenders – probably a Leyland Brother or such like. It’s a game-defining moment. We would have been within a kick had KB snared that one. Instead, momentum shifts back to the Cats and with a couple of steadiers, they close out a ripping contest.

Unlike the Fitzroy defeat, this genuinely hurts like a real loss. After passing so many big tests, Richmond has failed this one and cannot use injuries, conditions, lack of motivation or plain bad luck as an excuse. Geelong was rock solid all over the ground and answered every challenge we threw at them. The fists punching the air in triumph as they leave the arena signal how much this means to the Cats. No-one can deny them their Premiership credentials now.

I stamp angrily on an empty Fosters can as I leave. I’m a bit sick of blue and white today!

And now I’ve got to go home and hit the books.

The Footy Record
As a post-script to this week’s instalment, Jeff Dowsing’s recent alert to the State Library’s online collection of every edition of the Footy Record prompted me to have a look at the Round 17, 1980 edition.

Full colour pages were becoming regular by 1980 but at least half the publication is in black and white or two colour at best. This week’s colour action shots include Gary Dempsey, Keith Greig, Bernie Quinlan, Bob Beecroft, Bruce Doull, Michael Moncrieff and Ray Byrne.

The big footy announcements include Carl Ditterich’s retirement at season’s end and Ross Brewer’s 150th game (which he celebrated with a bag of eight goals). The one serious football article is about a meeting of VFL, WAFL and SANFL officials to discuss the “radical” proposal to introduce a 24 player draft through which VFL clubs would pick interstate recruits according to their finishing order on the ladder.

Club social notes still promote the “Pleasant Sunday Morning” but by this era, these events were no longer “men only”. However, Hawthorn is heavily promoting the “Miss Wynvale Hawk” award and do any Essendon supporters still have a copy of the club’s new song “Zoom” which was on sale for $2.50?

Forms for purchasing finals series tickets and a survey of fans about their enthusiasm for pre-match rock concerts are among the other footy-related items, along with ads for tacky items of merchandise ranging from digital watches to wall hangings, all in club colours of course.

Apart from triggering nostalgic footy memories, it’s a fascinating insight into the times.

Cigarette advertising is prominent, with Winfield, Escort and Marlboro all having full pages, a reminder of just how recently we’ve adopted the anti-smoking mantra . However, the “Who said men smoke Drum” ad on page 8 takes the prize for its glorious addition of sexism into the politically incorrect melting pot.

Strangely enough, alcohol ads are less numerous, with only Carlton Light and Black and White Scotch having a run.

However, the mix of smokes, grog and punting is rounded out with the complete fields for the day’s race meeting at Moonee Valley listed on page 37.

The ads for various media read like a list of dinosaurs – the Herald, Truth, Sunday Observer, 3XY and 3DB among those institutions no longer with us.

Molly Meldrum (photographed sans hat) writes a weekly column that is nominally football related but is really all about the latest pop goss. “Can’t Stop the Music” heads the week’s Top 10 countdown, whilst an ad by Jovan Promotions features “Men at Work” and “Cold Chisel” among other performers at the Central Club and the Pier Hotel.

And if, after all these wonderful attractions you’re still feeling low, Stan Michael’s Singles Scene “creates places to go to say hello”!

The Wrap
Richmond 3.3 7.7 10.11 13.15 (93)
Geelong 3.3 7.5 13.9 16.14 (110)
Goals
Rich: Roach 4, Monteath 3, Bartlett, Sarah 2, Cloke , Bottams
Geel: Bright, Clarke 4, Matthews, Mossop 2, Floyd, Johnston, Lunn, Turner

Major Stats
In a game of inches, Geelong’s narrow win was accurately reflected in their marginal supremacy in the stats. Richmond’s customary dominance in the ruck was missing, Mark Lee and Rod Blake breaking even, but Geelong enjoying an edge through backup ruckman, John Mossop, who also chimed in with a couple of goals. The Cats’ key forwards, Peter Johnston and Terry Bright, enjoyed 19 marks between them and were well supported by David Clarke who gave Francis Bourke the run-around with four goals. Richmond’s key forwards were subdued rather than trounced but none of our usual match-winners really stood out. Robert Wiley was Richmond’s best with 25 touches. But it was the Cats’ pace around the ground, exemplified by the best afield Michael Turner, which was the difference on the day – an alarming prospect for coming weeks given that the game was played in sunny, finals-like conditions.

Attendance
70,068 at MCG

In other games…
St Kilda 16.11 (107) v Collingwood 32.19 (211) at VFL Park
Carlton 14.17 (101) v North Melbourne 20.13 (133) at Princes Park
Essendon 18.14 (122) v Fitzroy 17.14 (116) at Windy Hill
Footscray 25.10 (160) v Hawthorn 15.17 (107) at Western Oval
South Melbourne 17.22 (124) v Melbourne 13.12 (90) at Lake Oval

Whilst defences were on top and goals at a premium at the MCG, the fine conditions produced huge bags of goals elsewhere, along with some stunning results.

None was bigger than North Melbourne’s extraordinary turn-around at Carlton. From late in the 3rd quarter to the end of the game, the Roos kicked 12 goals to one, denying the Blues a priceless opportunity to make ground on Richmond and enabling North to jump into third place on the ladder.

At Footscray, Loveless and Templeton shared a dozen goals as the home team ran all over the disappointing Hawks in a match that snuffed out their already slim finals hopes. Moncrieff snared another bag of eight for the visitors.

For the second week running, St Kilda had over 200 points kicked against it, (stats gurus – is this the only time this has happened in VFL/AFL history?). Brewer kicked eight for the Magpies.

And finally, some belated joy for Essendon in a close game, with another eight goal performance – this one from S. Madden – getting them across the line against Fitzroy.

Of the teams outside the top five, only South Melbourne now remained a realistic chance of seeing September action, their routine win over Melbourne keeping their hopes alive.

The Ladder
Team           W     L     D     PF     PA     %     Points
Richmond   13     3     1     2192 1544 142.0   54
Geelong        13     4     0     1854 1472 126.0  52
Nth Melb     12     5     0     1869 1481 126.2  48
Carlton        12      5     0     1926 1657 116.2  48
Collingwood 10    6    1      1803  1655 102.8 42
Sth Melb         10     7     0      1745   1728   101.0  40
Hawthorn       8       9     0      1785    1884   94.7   32
Essendon        7      10     0      1735    1646 105.4  24
Melbourne      5      12     0      1743    2061   84.6  20
Footscray        4      13     0      1691     2172   77.9  16
Fitzroy             3     13      1      1803     2172    83.0 14
St Kilda            3     13      1       1461    2180    67.0 14

(Next Week – Round 18)

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.

Comments

  1. Can’t answer your stats question Sam but I know the Saints lost their first 3 games in 1985 by more than 100 points. That may be a record. Round 4 they had a percentage boosting loss! Only lost by about 30 points.

  2. Skip of Skipton says:

    Sticking with the rock’n’roll theme, that round of footy also marks the moment in time when AC/DCs ‘Back in Black’ album was released.

  3. Stainless,
    Great game wasn’t it. Probably the Cats’ best home and away win for 10 years. it looked like a grand final preview. Sadly we couldn’t produce quite the same form in the finals and went out in straight sets at Waverley. It was Billy Goggin’s first year as coach after an earlier stint at Footscray.

    Rod Blake had an excellent year in the ruck. He won Geelong’s best and fairest and I think came third in the Brownlow. John Mossop provided fine support.

  4. Stainless – I have very clear recollections of this game. It was a beauty. I recall Malarkey and Disco Roach having a ripper battle all day, with Malarkey spending more time with his back to the play watching Roach, than he did following the ball into defence. No zoning off in those days.

    I also recollect a dashing, and probably game winning, sprint by Michael Turner down the Members wing; a couple of bounces and a big torp into the forward line.

  5. Jeff Dowsing says:

    The only problem with the online version Stainless is they don’t have that distinctive Footy Record smell! Or the yellowed wrinkled pages of those days when the weather turned sour.

    I have That Was The Season That Was 1980 on VHS at home. I feel like giving it another run now. I THINK I still have a contraption to play it on.

  6. Stainless says:

    Dips
    You may be thinking of the run and goal that I mentioned which I think got Turner goal of the year. But that was in the first quarter so it wasn’t exactly game-winning. He terrorised the Richmond defence that day so there were probably plenty of other dashes later in the game.

    Skip
    Funny you mention “Back in Black”. You’re either a die-hard fan or a keen researcher because it was indeed released this very week in 1980. Acca Dacca was pretty much the default playlist on the ghetto blasters behind the Richmond goals pre-game (with occasional forays into the Angels and Cold Chisel). “Hells Bells” and the rest represent the soundtrack of those early years of my football education (although I guess, given its release date, “Back in Black” was probably getting its maximum airplay during the 1981 season). At one stage in writing this saga, I was contemplating doing a comparison of Richmond’s 1980 revival post-Tommy Hafey with AC/DC’s resurgence post-Bon Scott. It started getting messy when I realised that in comparing the key changes in personnel, I’d be putting up the hard-drinking, “weasal-on-heat” voiced Bon up against the puritanical, clean-living Tommy. Somehow, it just didn’t seem right!

    Jeff
    In these days of obsessing about “chicken wings” and pressure points, “That was the season that was” is well worth another look, if for no other reason than to see the laughable violence that went unpunished back then.

  7. DBalassone says:

    Never forget that goal by Micky Turner – if I recall correctly, the ch 7 commentator (Jack Davis?) actually called the kick “across the face”.

    I reckon I have about 200-300 Footy Records from the 80s sitting in my garage gathering dust. I haven’t the heart to sell them, though I rarely look at them now.

  8. Paul Daffey says:

    I reckon I was at that game, too.

    I remember developing a fascination with Geelong centre half-forward Peter Johnston because he marked so wonderfully and kicked so ineptly.

    It was like helicopter blades spinning off their axis.

    I see he kicked one goal that day. The behinds tally might be more telling.

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