1980 A Personal Footy Almanac – Round 19, Saturday 9 August, v Carlton, Princes Park

One of the particular joys of watching the Reserves back in these times was seeing veteran players dropping back to the “twos” to lend guidance and experience to the next generation.

This tradition allowed such players to go out on their terms, usually with far more grace and dignity than the rapid exits and hastily arranged motorcades of today. That said, the sight of these older players, trying valiantly to cling on in their declining years, acted like a magnet for the taunts and jibes of opposition barrackers.

Today at Princes Park, the Richmond ferals are getting stuck into Carlton stalwart Kevin Heath. Heath has been in and out of the senior side and today he’s back doing his bit for the magoos. Unfortunately for Heath, the Richmond Reserves are finishing their season on a roll. Mark Jackson has been running rampant and in desperation, Heath’s been sent to full-back to try and stem the flow of goals.

The abuse starts off as the typical barbs about blokes who are past it, but rapidly develops a racist edge, which even in those less enlightened days, I know is wrong. As he dutifully stands in the goal square, enduring the chants while awaiting the next onslaught from the centre square, Heath manages a world-weary two finger salute to the crowd behind his back.

It’s an unedifying scene, but these antics certainly indicate a fired-up Richmond crowd, and little wonder. Lose today and the Tigers could be out of top position. Thrashing cellar-dwellers is all well and good, but we really need to beat a contender to recover some poise before the finals. Today, against Carlton, is that opportunity.

Consistently good form has finally rewarded Brian Taylor with a debut appearance in the seniors, but, in keeping with his frustrating early days at Richmond, BT has picked the wrong day to play on the Tiger half-forward line. Carlton’s defence is right on top. In spite of the beautiful finals-like weather, goals are at a premium and Taylor hardly gets a sniff.

He’s not alone there. Carlton boasted some wonderful defenders at this time and they’re all playing their part today. Southby and Perovic, in particular, are containing Roach and Cloke. Not to be outdone, Richmond’s own defence is hanging on grimly too and by half-time, we’re clinging to a narrow but unconvincing lead.

Gradually, however, the Blues wear us down and in the end, pull away to a 21 point win, which, given the low scores of the day and Carlton’s inaccuracy, has the feel of a much bigger victory. Like the Geelong game two weeks ago, we toiled valiantly to the end, but the spark that was there earlier in the season has definitely vanished.

For Carlton fans, this is a big result, probably their best win of the season. Greg Wells, the centreman that Carlton’s recently nabbed from Melbourne has played a blinder and has more than justified the big bucks that lured him across. The win has returned Carlton to the top three and gives the Blues a real chance of grabbing top spot, which would be remarkable given the challenges and stuttering form they’ve experienced this year.

The consolation of the day is the news that reaches us as we exit the packed ground. In an upset akin to our Round 15 loss to Fitzroy, Geelong’s winning streak of 12 has come to an end at the hands of St Kilda (of all teams!) and we’re still on top of the ladder. But with two teams now within half a game and two tough away games in our last three, what hope has this out-of-form side got of hanging onto that slender advantage?

The Wrap
Carlton       2.1  4.6  9.11  12.19 (91)
Richmond 3.3  5.6   7.7   10.10 (70)

Goals
Carl: Maclure, Wells 3, Catoggio, Doull, Johnston, Marcou, Maylin, Sheldon
Rich: Wiley 3, Cloke 2, Bottams, Monteath, Roach, Smith, Weightman

Major Stats
Within a great team performance by Carlton, Greg Wells, with 31 possessions and three goals was the star of the show, although the ever-flamboyant Mark Maclure did his best to steal the limelight with a strong display in the forward line. But it was Carlton’s defence, restricting the powerful Richmond forward line to just 10 goals, that really set up the victory. Austin, Doull, English, Klomp, Perovic, and Southby. A handy group, eh?

For the Tigers, the goal famine was matched in general stats. Only Weightman, Raines, Smith and Monteath topped 20 possessions and six players managed less than 10 each. Brian Taylor, on debut, managed just three touches.

Attendance
30,051 at Princes Park

In other games…
Collingwood 19.10 (124) v Fitzroy 16.19 (115) at VFL Park
Essendon 18.8 (116) v Footscray 11.8 (74) at Windy Hill
St Kilda 13.10 (88) v Geelong 11.17 (83) at Moorabbin Oval
Melbourne 9.10 (64) v Hawthorn 19.27 (141) at MCG
South Melbourne 12.13 (85) v North Melbourne 11.7 (73)

Geelong’s shock loss at a wind-affected Moorabbin was the major talking point, the Cats reeling in a five goal deficit with the breeze in the last quarter but being unable to hold onto the lead that would have given the Cats top spot.

South’s excellent form at home continued with a solid win over North, but their hopes of narrowing Collingwood’s gap on the ladder evaporated in the final term after the Magpies finished all over Fitzroy, after trailing by 37 points early in the quarter.

Elsewhere, Hawthorn and Essendon won emphatically, as expected, ensuring that the battle among the bottom four to avoid the wooden spoon would continue to be hard-fought. Footscray took its turn in the cellar this week.

The Ladder
Team           W     L     D     PF     PA     %     Points
Richmond   14     4     1     2418 1676 144.2  58
Geelong        14     5     0     2041 1650 123.7 56
Carlton        14     5     0     2130 1796 118.6 56
Nth Melb     13     6    0     2029 1623 125.0 52
Collingwood 12   6     1     2017 1827 110.4  50
Sth Melb         11     8     0     1887   1891   99.8   44
Hawthorn       9     10    0     1995    2061  96.8   36
Essendon         8     11    0      1941   1824 106.4  32
Melbourne       5     14    0     1864    2289 81.4   20
Fitzroy             4     14    1     2022     2376 85.1   18
St Kilda            4     14    1      1629     2367 68.8   18
Footscray        4      15    0      1806    2444 73.9  16

(Next Week – Round 20)

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. I love these trips down memory lane and i miss standing beneath the scoreboard at Princess Park – great stuff!

  2. Can’t wait till next week Sam.

    But I will be switching off for the finals.

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