1980 A Personal Footy Almanac – Round 9, Saturday 24 May, v Melbourne, MCG

Last week’s epic victory over Carlton had all the electricity, tension, and dramatic emotional release that I imagine the connections of a winning Melbourne Cup horse would feel.

Seven days on and back at the same venue, I wander casually into the cheer squad area, take my pick from rows of empty seats, sit back and relax. I’ve gone from the Race that Stops a Nation to a late autumn training gallop.
In toppling the Blues last week, Richmond has proven its mettle. The nervous uncertainty that I’ve felt approaching every game over the first two months of the season has disappeared. Before the ball is even bounced, I know today is simply a question of “how far the Tigers?”

The game against Melbourne – our away game – is played out in front of a mildly interested crowd of 27,000. The Demons play some attractive footy in the still, sunny conditions, but are clearly no match for Richmond. We kick a metronomic eight goals per quarter for the first three. Surely today our club record score will be broken.

Alas, no. We manage a mere five goals in the final term – our second bag of 29 for the season! The sleepy throng comes alive in the final five minutes, willing the Tigers to that elusive 30th goal that will push us over 200 points, but the players’ admirable commitment over the previous two hours is spent. Oh well, 93 point win, 195 point score. What’s not to like?
Once again, “team effort” is the order of the day. But it’s our low-profile skipper, West Australian Bruce Monteath, who takes the plaudits. He kicks eight goals from a half-forward flank. In a season where the efforts of Roach, Cloke and Bartlett are remembered, it’s worth noting an achievement as rare as this, even if it was a bit like a double-ton against Bangladesh!

It’s also worth noting Monteath’s efforts over the season. After five impressive years at Richmond, Monteath took on the captaincy in 1980 at a time when there was a fair bit of personal animosity and politics at Punt Road. It can’t have been an easy gig, especially with three or four more senior players on the team (including ex-captains) having arguably greater claims to the role. That he handled it with aplomb, performed well personally and appeared to command a tight, loyal group speaks volumes. It was a great shame that this was to be his last year at Tigerland.

The Wrap
Melbourne 2.3 5.6 10.10 15.12 (102)
Richmond 8.6 16.8 24.15 29.21 (195)
Goals
Melb: Moir 3, Barnes, Byrne, Coles, Seddon 2, Crosswell, Flower, Martyn, Smith
Rich: Monteath 8, Cloke 5, Bartlett 4, Roach, Rowlings, Tempany 3, Smith, Weightman, Wiley

Major Stats
Fascinating to see the evolution of the handball game around this time. Richmond’s impressive tally of 133 was actually eclipsed by Melbourne’s 149 – extraordinary numbers for the era. Dale Weightman’s 33 possession game was a rarity for the time of comprising more handballs than kicks. Barry Rowlings, however, won the game-high possession tally with 38, of which only seven were handballs.

Bruce Monteath’s eight goal haul aside, the statistical highlight of the day was Mark Lee’s continued dominance in the ruck was rapidly bringing him into Brownlow Medal considerations. A mammoth 55 hitouts today, compared with Melbourne’s Michael Byrne, who managed just 13. Melbourne’s captain-coach Carl Ditterich didn’t play today – suspended?
Interestingly, the Dees had six players who had played or would play in Premiership teams – but all at other clubs(!): Brent Crosswell, Michael Byrne, Cameron Clayton, Laurie Fowler, Tony Elshaug and Greg Wells.

Attendance
27,217 at the MCG

In other games…
North Melbourne 14.9 (93) v Hawthorn 13.10 (88) at VFL Park
Collingwood 18.28 (136) v Geelong 15.15 (105) at Victoria Park
Fitzroy 14.16 (100) v South Melbourne 16.25 (121) at Junction Oval
St Kilda 19.15 (129) v Footscray 15.13 (103) at Moorabbin Oval
Essendon 13.16 (94) v Carlton 20.11 (131) at SCG

The wins by Collingwood and North Melbourne marked one of the more significant developments in the season thus far, triggering the Magpies’ eventual rise into the Five at the expense of the Hawks. Collingwood’s win this day was sparked by a six goal haul from Rene Kink who torched the normally robust Geelong defence.

Hawthorn had another heart-stopper at Waverley, but despite a strong finish, came away empty handed as North notched yet another narrow win to retain second spot on the ladder.

Quite bizarre to imagine the League scheduling an Essendon-Carlton game in Sydney nowadays but that’s exactly what happened on the Sunday of this round, Carlton shaking off the woes of the previous three weeks to record a solid win.

Despite trailing by four goals early in the final term, South won the battle of the Lake over Fitzroy, Tony Morwood booting six goals. And despite seven goals from Kelvin Templeton, St Kilda beat Footscray, further raising the prospects of a team having a winless season for the first time since 1964.

The Ladder
Team               W   L   D    PF       PA      %        Points
Richmond     7   1     1    1265   830 152.4   30
Nth Melb         7  2    0    1030 764  134.8   28
Carlton            6   3    0   1027   923  111.3    24
Hawthorn      6   3   0      975    914  106.7  24
Sth Melb         6    3   0      977    924  105.7 24
Geelong              5   4   0       932     837  111.4    20
Collingwood     4   4    1       916      941   97.3    18
Essendon           4    5   0      964      891  108.2   16
Melbourne        3    6   0       944     1160 81.4     12
Fitzroy                2   6    1       963     1129  85.3    10
St Kilda               2    6   1       852     1105  77.1    10
Footscray          0   9   0       812     1239  65.5      0

(Next Week – Round 10)

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. DBalassone says:

    Cripes, if it wasn’t enough having Roach, Cloke and Bartlett in the forward line, ups bobs Monteath with 8. Talk about firepower up forward.

  2. Chris Weaver says:

    Another interesting recap – well done!

    There’s a Melbourne fan who runs a really comprehensive club history. You can read a report about the game here, including reference to Michael Seddon’s shorts and an explanation as to why Michael Roach had a quiet game:

    http://demonwiki.org/Round+9+1980

    BTW Carl Ditterich was missing due to a hamstring strain suffered in the Round 6 loss to South Melbourne.

  3. Stainless says:

    Chris

    Thanks for the links. I can’t say I recall the Seddon shorts incident.

    As for Roach and his treatment by the umpires, my strong recollection from that year was that Richmond got a raw deal from the men in white every week and that part of the joy of the season was to see the team prevail so strongly in spite of such treatment. I’ll touch on umpiring 1980s style in some later reports.

    Of course, this is probably the view of a one-eyed supporter, although in trawling back over the stats, it does appear that the Tigers fared poorly on the free kick count most weeks (see my recent account of the game at Victoria Park for a particularly lop-sided example). I guess on this particular day, it didn’t matter too much as the result was a foregone conclusion very early on and my overwhelming memory of the day was that it was almost like a bye, sandwiched between several blockbuster games.

  4. Bruce Monteath, a very under rated player.

    Glen!

  5. Skip of Skipton says:

    Interesting that the eventual runners-up, and also minor premiers are both outside the five after round 9.
    How often would that have occurred, if ever?

Leave a Comment

*