1980 A Personal Footy Almanac – Round 18, Saturday 2 August, v Footscray, VFL Park

Richmond’s hold on the coveted top spot may be suddenly looking tenuous, but I’m feeling carefree today as I ignore the steady rain and catch the early bus out to Waverley from Nunawading.

Mid-year exams are over. In a week that saw the release of AC/DC’s immortal album “Back in Black”, I’m ashamed to admit that Genghis Khan’s “Moscow, Moscow”, that ridiculously catchy disco anthem of the 1980 Olympic Games, which have been running these past two weeks, is pounding a track through my brain where only 48 hours before, serious works of literature, foreign languages and scientific data were stored. (At least I’m not alone in my dubious taste in music. From being aired in Channel 7’s coverage of the Olympic Opening Ceremony as a bit of a light interlude, “Moscow”went straight to the top of the Australian charts and stayed there through August, knocking the equally ludicrous “Can’t Stop the Music” off its perch!)

There are two men and a dog (literally – if you count the Footscray mascot) at a bleak Waverley when I arrive, early in the Reserves game. A fairly large gaggle of my school mates swell the sparse crowd and a few of the more self-confident among them boost the slow business at the bar with some post-exam celebratory beers (the current policy of being asked for i.d. if you look under 25 was certainly not in force during those free and easy days).

By game time, the crowd is a mere 18,000, all huddled from the rain in the small areas of covered seating. Any thoughts of a boilover today by the improving young Footscray side are smashed in the first quarter, in which Richmond piles on 11 goals – an amazing performance in the conditions. Already relaxed by an underage sherbet or three, the gang’s totally stress-free now. Top spot is safe for at least another week and we spend the rest of the day admiring the skills of the Richmond players on a day where you could easily forgive a slipshod display.

Michael Roach is again in vintage touch and with 10 goals out of the team score of 23, is in my books quite easily best on ground today, despite his height and bulk being far better suited by dry conditions. A wonderful individual effort typifies Roach’s performance today. Charging out on a long lead to the half-forward line, Roach gathers the ball at pace from the slippery ground, turns, evades a couple of defenders and calmly drills it from 55 metres.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I recall little else from the game. Four goals per quarter is Richmond’s ration from quarter-time, but that’s sufficient to ensure our second 100 point victory over the Dogs. It’s good to have negotiated another game in tricky conditions so decisively, but I’m nervous about our tough run home and whether we can keep the rampaging hordes at bay for another four weeks.

Ah well, a couple of days of R&R watching the last of that unique spectacle that is the Olympic Games – communist style – should keep the late season anxiety at bay. At least until next Saturday!

The Wrap
Richmond 11.6 15.8 19.14 23.18 (156)
Footscray 2.1 5.2 5.3 6.5 (41)

Goals
Rich: Roach 10, Monteath, Bartlett 3, Dunne 2, Cloke , Raines, Wall, Wiley, Wood
Foots: Templeton 4, Jennings, Hawkins

Major Stats
Talk about efficiency. Michael Roach – 12 kicks, one handball, ten goals straight. All on a day made for ducks! Throw in a lazy 35 touches for Geoff Raines and 30 apiece for Wiley and Weightman and it starts to make some sense of the scoreboard. It was evidently another easy day at the office for Tony Jewell as our interchange players – Sarah and Bottams – managed only three possessions between them, presumably in the last few minutes when they got their token run.

Footscray’s three goalkickers also demonstrated their class by being among the most prominent ballwinners for the Dogs. Shane Loveless, the shining star on the forward line in recent weeks was held to just three touches and one behind by the miserly Francis Bourke, whose efforts earned him a best afield effort just ahead of Roach.

Attendance
18,282 at VFL Park

In other games…
Hawthorn 9.15 (69) v Carlton 16.17 (113) at Princes Park
Collingwood 11.24 (90) v South Melbourne 8.9 (57) at Victoria Park
Geelong 15.14 (104) v Essendon 13.12 (90) at Kardinia Park
Fitzroy 15.14 (104) v St Kilda 12.8 (80) at Junction Oval
North Melbourne 12.15 (87) v Melbourne 7.15 (57) at Arden Street Oval

Richmond received no joy from other results, with all the top teams winning and remaining in close touch.

Essendon put in a valiant effort for three quarters at Kardinia Park but again, their vulnerability in close finishes cost them. Carlton erased the memories of their nightmarish attack of the kicking yips in their last match against Hawthorn with a comfortable win.

The crunch game for fifth spot at Victoria Park was a waterlogged fizzer. Despite poor finishing, the home side was never really threatened. With North wining comfortably over Melbourne at Arden Street, the final five now looked settled, even if the finishing order was far from clear. The jostling to avoid last position continued, with Fitzroy moving a game and percentage clear of St Kilda with a dogged win at the Junction Oval.

The Ladder
Team                W     L     D    PF     PA     %     Points
Richmond       14     3      1   2348 1585 148.1   58
Geelong            14     4     0   1958 1562 125.4    56
Nth Melb         13     5     0    1956 1538 127.2   52
Carlton            13     5      0    2039 1726 118.1   52
Collingwood    11    6      1    1893  1712 110.6   46
Sth Melb            10     8      0     1802   1818    99.1    40
Hawthorn           8    10     0      1854   1997   92.8     32
Essendon            7     11     0      1825    1750 104.3    28                                                        Melbourne          5     13     0      1800   2148   83.8    20
Fitzroy               4      13     1      1907    2252   84.7    18
Footscray           4     14     0       1732    2328   74.4   16
St Kilda              3      14     1        1541    2284 67.5     14

(Next Week – Round 19)

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. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Great memories Stainless. I went to almost every game that year in the Cheer Squad, so have similar recollections minus the beer (I was 14). But my dad used to get me to smuggle his VB cans into Waverly in my duffle coat pocket! Wish we coud rack up some wins like this now!!

  2. Stainless says:

    Ah – the old duffle coats! Very useful garments, eh? Did yours have all those yellow numbers and player names all over it?

    Yeah it’s a bit weird recalling such a lopsided victory at a time like this. On a brighter note, one thing I’ve noticed from my research is the incredible number of close games that Essendon lost during 1980 (and we know how they went over the next five years). An interesting parallel with Richmond this year?

  3. Neil Anderson says:

    What’s going on here? Reminiscing about a hundred point victory over the Bulldogs!!!
    It must have been a hell of a year for Tiger supporters. I suppose If I could think of a good year for the Bulldogs in recent times I’d love to let everyone know about it. Ask your grandparents how good the Doggies were in 1954 and ask your great grandparents about how good they were in the old VFA. About five premierships and then played against Essendon from the VFL, where they won and were ‘allowed’ to join the VFL IN 1925. (I know, I’m clutching at straws)

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