AFL Round 10 – GWS v Richmond: Jack the Giant Slayer

 

Greater Western Sydney v Richmond

Spotless Stadium

Saturday, May 24, 1.40pm

 

Cheryl Critchley

 

When Jack Riewoldt hit the road for the second time in a week, this time to play Greater Western Sydney at Spotless Stadium, Richmond fans weren’t expecting much.

His first road trip had ended in disaster, Benny Hill sound track still ringing in our ears.

The off-field drama followed a catastrophic loss to Melbourne the previous Saturday, when the Tigers couldn’t rise for club legend Tom Hafey after his untimely death. Our hearts were left feeling like concrete.

Jack then criticised coach Damien Hardwick’s game plan, which saw him  scaling fences, skedaddling down side streets and hiding behind cars after camera crews took chase. It was so Benny Hill-esque, the only thing missing was an old bald guy to pat on the head.

By week’s end, we were looking forward to our trip to the GWS game like a condemned prisoner looks forward to their last meal. If we lost, it wasn’t going to be pretty.

The day was a family affair with my brother Paul, his kids Alice and Nicholas (all Hawks) and my cousin Kate, whom I brainwashed to follow Richmond in the early 1980s, consigning her to a lifetime of hell. She’s now also a Giants member, having moved to Sydney’s outer west.

My daughters Jess and Bec were also there – Jess having declared herself  a Gold Coast supporter after the Melbourne  loss. But she came anyway – anything for a day off school.

In the end, the 875 kilometre trek was worth it – and that was before lunch at the Rooty Hill RSL. To cut a long story short, Jack came back and answered the critics with 11 goals straight before two points in the last quarter.

It was a career-best career-saver – and the perfect reward for the Richmond diehards who made it, including a few dozen cheer squad members, Tiger, Tiger burning bright blogger Dugald Jellie and 21 Capital Tigers diehards who had bussed in from Canberra on this sunny Saturday afternoon.

Almost half of the 8331-strong crowd were Richmond fans – which was both a credit to the Tiger faithful and a concern for those trying to grow footy in Sydney’s west.

Those who did make it watched in awe as Jack slotted a lazy four in the first quarter, three in the second and four in the third. He then kicked two points in the last and passed off another opportunity – just in case those pesky footy writers accused him of being selfish.

Richmond players dobbed them from everywhere and didn’t kick a point until the 13 minute mark of the second quarter. In the end the difference was 113 points in a terrific display and restored our faith  – at least until next week.

The atmosphere at the AFL’s newest venue was relaxed and friendly – unlike Etihad Stadium, which forces patrons to eat their Subway subs before entering. We wandered in with Maccas chicken nuggets and Coke Zeros in hand, and the littlies enjoyed a jumping castle and footy activities inside the ground.

We also got to meet meet GWS cheer Squad president Kath Dell’Orefice and her bright orange-haired hubby Seb, who manages the Giants’ banner.

Kath, who once rang SEN and proved her credentials by singing  the Giants’ theme song on air,  was instantly hooked after attending a match with Melbourne-raised Seb. “I just fell in love with this game,” says Kath, resplendent in orange plaits and eye shadow. “We follow the Giants all around the country.”

They were disappointed with the big loss, but like us Richmond fans will never give up. They even have big orange signs reading: “We will never surrender”. They’re rusted on already.

As we drove back to Kate’s place in Sydney’s outer west to visit her partner Kris and son Joey, joking about having our scarves out the window, we were passed by an older bloke in a bright orange shirt and a Giants flag flapping in the wind.

Footy has arrived in western Sydney, albeit with a long road ahead.

 

GWS   1.5 1.6 3.9 5.11 (41)

Richmond 8.0 14.2 21.4 24.10 (154)

 

Goals

GWS: Cameron, Palmer, Coniglio, Hoskin-Elliott, Scully.

Richmond: Riewoldt 11, Houli, Vickery, Griffiths, Ellis 2, McDonough, Edwards, Foley, Cotchin, Grigg.

Best

GWS: Shiel, Coniglio, Hoskin-Elliott

Richmond: Riewoldt, Martin, Hampson, Martin, Rance, Deledio, Cotchin, Houli, Ellis.

 

Umpires: Dalgleish, Schmitt, Foot.       Crowd: 8,331

Our votes: Riewoldt 3 (Richmond) Martin 2 (Richmond) Hampson 1 (Richmond)

Brownlow:

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Peter_B says:

    We all take our wins where we find them Cheryl. But beware fool’s gold when playing the pathetic Giants. Josh Kennedy kicked 11 against them, and he couldn’t tie his own shoelaces against the Pies next game.

  2. Callum O'Connor says:

    Just good to see the Tigers really get fed up and go to town on a side! But can we carry the form…?

  3. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Guys I sure know not to get carried away – don’t worry about that!!! We just enjoyed having a good win during a weekend with the rellies. I’d never seen Richmond win in Sydney so it was great fun.

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Cheryl while I love your passion for the tigers I wonder where they would be if they had taken a stand in the last couple of years . Deledio breaking team rules last year v
    Freo , King , Martin and now , Riewolt if Hardwick thought it was that bad he had to suspend him it still smacks of a mediocre club failing to make the tough calls
    GWS with the natural ability they have in there side to dish up the effort of there last two games is worse than mediocre

  5. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Hi Malcolm. I think the club has improved a lot in recent years, but still has a way to go in some areas. Somehow the club must develop an uncompromising and winning culture and that needs to start at the top. It probably needs some renewal at board level, with several new and dynamic faces. Brendon Gale has done a good job but clearly issues remain around him. I don’t want to blame Hardwick because over the years coaches have often been hamstrung by the overall club culture. When Terry Wallace was coach, the club was literally imploding around him so he would have been a miracle worker to get us into the finals. I REALLY hope that off-field improvement continues because I clearly needs to before we can become a force again.

  6. Stainless says:

    Cheryl
    Glad you enjoyed the weekend and totally agree with your summation of how the team and club are travelling.

    I’ve been impressed to read about and hear Peggy O’Neal and the calm and low-key way she is performing her role at Richmond. Such a refreshing contrast to the show-boating Presidents elsewhere. Someone tweeted during her radio interview that she should resign as she sounded far too sensible to be at Richmond!

    O’Neal’s comments about the so called “crisis” at Richmond were illustrative of a far more mature culture developing at the club. Acknowledge a mistake, deal with it quickly and with appropriate perspective, and move on. Methinks there’ll be no knee-jerk reactions to hysterical media beatups on her watch.

    I agree that there’s not much that Richmond can take from such a ridiculously easy win, beyond that we were switched on from the start and played a solid four quarters. I could count at least a dozen instances of poor ball use and decision-making that would have cost us against decent opposition but at least we persisted and had contributors on every line. The next month will be the acid test.

    And one final word on Jack. A lazy media pack dined out this week on a story that was little substance and largely an airing of outdated stereotypical views about Richmond. Yes, Jack’s comments were naively (and refreshingly) honest, but to suggest that this was grounds for suspension is simply breathtaking. I was delighted that he stuck it up the Fourth Estate so comprehensively on Saturday. At least it will force them to work a bit harder for their stories this week.

  7. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Agreed Stainless. We need to continue on the upward trajectory off the field and the rest will follow. The great clubs show that stability and good leadership off the field are just as crucial as what happens off it, as this leadership flows through to every level. Peggy sounds great and let’s hope she can continue the improvement. Fingers crossed the Tigers will come out pumped on Saturday and at least partly get their season back on track.

  8. I love going to the footy at Spotless Stadium, it is so easy – and the Tigers have a fantastic record against the Giants at this ground. Last year I watched them from one of the Corporate boxes (which a colleague of mine won 2 tickets in the box) in Kevin Sheedy’s last coaching game defeat the Giants by 121 points, so the Giants have made a slight improvement in only losing by 113 points this time around.

    As a lifelong Richmond supporter & until about 6 years ago a Richmond member (I just cant afford a supporters membership now as a family with kids living on a single wage)who now lives in Western Sydney I have become a Giants 3 game member so I can go to a few games and support a new club, but the Tigers will always be my one true love. Although the crowd was not large by Melbourne or lets face it anyone else’s standards, it is slowly growing and picking up momentum with each season. The Giants just need to get a few more good wins like the one against the Swans and try to keep the defeats to a tighter margin and more people will start to jump on board. It is done really well for families with kids at Spotless stadium as you mentioned Cheryl. There is always stuff on before and after the game and the Kidzone with the jumping castles and other things run throughout each game, so it makes for a good family day out.

    It was great to spend an afternoon in the stands with you Cheryl watching the Tigers win, its been a long time since I lived in Melbourne and we would go together every week, and good to finally attend a game in Sydney together that we actually won.

  9. Cheryl Critchley says:

    Hi Kate. It was a great day out and even better with the Tigers having a good win after all those disappointing weeks. It is good that people who live in that area have an AFL option – we’ll just have to wait and see whether it really takes off. As you say, a few more wins and closer losses will help. The likes of Kath and the cheer squad are a good start as they are already “rusted on”, which is what they need. I hope they have a few more wins for you this year :-)

  10. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Stainless while I agree , Jacks comments were refreshingly honest yes a tad silly but far better than the normal boring cliches it was , Hardwick not the fourth estate who failed to guarantee his spot for , Saturdays game . A pivotal moment was , Hardwick not going thru with his threat of dropping , Deledio last year for breaking on ground team rules by allowing him to do his own thing he dug a rod in his and the tigers back I firmly believe , Deledio would not have been so pathetic defensively in last years final and the tigers would be far better off now ( this is just one example )

  11. The Wrap. says:

    Jack’s why we love The Tigers Cheryl. It may even be that we’re Tigers because we love Jack. one thing’s for sure; Punt Road is our home and we’ll be Tigers for ever.

  12. Cheryl Critchley says:

    So true re Jack. Since Richo we’ve really needed someone with character and passion, and Jack Riewoldt sure fits the bill!

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