AFL Round 16: Roos-Tigers draw offers a win for both sides of the Rawlings family

By Roseann Testagrossa

The second annual Eureka Game between Richmond and North Melbourne was a day for firsts.  The first time two care-taker coaches would be coaching against each other and the first time in over 50 years that one sibling would be coaching (Jade Rawlings) against a brother (Brady) playing for the opposition.

I made my way early to the MCG, to enjoy a sausage sizzle and prepare for the pre-game entertainment, most of which I sadly missed.  What I saw was the military guards shoot into the air, and they certainly frightened the birdlife that was feeding on the hallowed turf.

It seemed that two late omissions for Richmond, Ben Cousins and Trent Cotchin, should help North sing the song at game’s end.

Lachie Hansen kick the first goal of the game, and I thought things had begun well for North.  North was racking up the possessions but not really applying any scoreboard pressure.

Young Nahas for Richmond scored the Tigers’ first goal from a ball-up near the goalsquare.  Just like last week against the Hawks, it was ball-up heaven.  Shortly afterwards, Jack Riewoldt scored Richmond’s second goal in under three minutes to hit the lead, but I wasn’t concerned.  We’d already lost once to Richmond in 2009, and I couldn’t envisage another loss to the Tigers in the same year.

Another goal in less than a minute to Dean Polo for a 19-8 scoreline, but I still wasn’t worried.  The Tigers had come to play, while North seemed to be playing the man.  Nahas kicked his second goal, and then the worry beads came out. 25-8. Not a happy little Vegemite.

Richard Tambling was in everything; he was carving North up.  Then, to see perennial backman Josh Gibson going for goal should have been an omen.  Backmen don’t kick many goals, and Gibbo duly missed.

Boomer Harvey was also in everything, and was clearly determined to play well against the team that caused him to miss half his first season as captain through injury.

Andrew Swallow looked like he’d incurred a knee injury, and was being attended to on the bench.  Richmond seemed to be hitting their targets, while North were causing turnovers all over the ground. 4.5 (29) Richmond to 1.3 (9) North at quarter-time.

Seconds into the second quarter, Jack Riewoldt kicked his second goal with a toe-poke.  It looked like it was touched, but the replay on the screen showed otherwise.  35-11 with Richmond showing plenty of Eureka spirit, and North not.

Big Hamish McIntosh finally kicked North’s second goal. 5.5 to 2.5, bad kicking at goal from both teams.

Coughlan kicked a goal to extend Richmond’s lead, followed by another from Hislop, 47-18.

Levi Greenwood (Mr six-pack) kicked an opportunistic goal for North and I was feeling a little better.

Both teams were handball-happy.  Blood rule to David Hale forced the ruckman to the bench. Riewoldt kicked a third goal, and North’s seventh loss in a row looked highly likely.

Daniel Pratt seemed to have an injury as well, but you can never tell with him.  He’s a tough one.  Mitch Morton kicked another goal for Richmond, and the game became unbearable to watch.  66-24, a good old-fashioned thumping, approaching half-time.

I couldn’t sit there.  My nerves were getting to me.  I wanted to go home, but that’s not allowed when you sit in the cheersquad, and I was there in company with others, who were likewise stunned at the scoreline.  I decided to walk to the MCG Superstore, as I couldn’t recall the last time I’d been there.  The long walk to the other end of the ground, however, did little to calm me down. I only hoped Darren Crocker asked for a better effort from the team at the long break.

Moments into the third quarter, Leigh “Turtle” Harding took a great mark on Deledio, and more importantly kicked a fabulous goal.  66-30.  Bad kick-out from Pratty, however, led to another Tiger goal, 74-31, 43 points down, incredible.

More entertaining on the ground was a solitary pigeon, intent on eating the MCG turf, while players are kicking the Sherrin all around it, and jumping over it.  The animal rights people would be proud!!

Goals to Andrew Swallow, David Hale and Corey Jones reduced the margin to 22 points, and I could finally see things looking up. Strong, tough play from North, especially from Adam Simpson and Leigh Adams, resulted in a goal to Andrew Swallow.  The score at three-quarter time was 75-59, a huge improvement to say the least.

Richmond’s Daniel Jackson hadhis jumper almost torn off his torso, and he’s in bad need of a suntan, like myself!

Last quarter. Intensity was evident from both teams. Richmond didn’t want to lose after having such a lead, while North could smell a win. Nahas sprayed the footy in front of us, to the jeers of the cheersquad.  North stacked the backline, thankfully, and the Sherrin moved to the forward line, through Sammy Power and Turtle Harding, who combined well for a sneaky goal to Boomer Harvey.  9 points!

Free to Drewie Petrie in the forward line.  All fingers and toes were crossed. Didn’t work! Still goalless for the day, Big D.

Oddly enough, we were behind on the scoreboard, but seemed to be in control of the match.  Boomer got his second goal, reducing the margin to 2 points.  Point to Hislop, 3 points margin.

Jack Riewoldt’s shot at goal hit the post, 4 point margin. Another point to Nahas, 5 point margin.

Jordy McMahon kicked to Riewoldt, who dropped a mark, and the ball rebounded to the North forward line. Through the efforts of Gibson and Michael Firrito, the ball was with David Hale who goaled to put North in front.  I was screaming, “Ring the siren”.  1 point in front, who would have thought it at half-time?

We cheered even louder.  Thank God I didn’t leave!  The ball moved too quickly to the Richmond forward-line.  Michael Firrito applied a tackle taht went unrewarded.  These umps need to visit OPSM. Score was 79-78, with North in front!!

Brett Deledio kicked to Tambling, and he had the chance to put the Tiggies in front – the ball brushed the post, and scores were level, 79 apiece.

Petrie kicked to Hale, who kicked to Turtle Harding, who goaled – 85 -79.

“Ring the siren,” I screamed.  Someone yelled out 1 minute 20 seconds to go.

Deledio had the ball again, and no-one could catch him. He kicked to Mitch Morton, who kicked an EPL-style goal.  Scores once again level, 85 apiece.

The atmosphere was electric. We cheered, as we couldn’t do anything else.

Hamish McIntosh kicked to David Hale who took a mark.  Mark NOT PAID.  Why?  Some infringement.  Who’s got the number for OPSM?

Siren sounded shortly afterwards.  First draw for season 2009.

Can we at least sing half the song???

Eureka Medal winner was Brent Harvey.  Well done to Boomer.

Both sides don’t recall how to win. God help us against Brisbane at the Gabba next week, up against B1 (Jonathan Brown) and B2 (Daniel Bradshaw).

Excellent result for the Rawlings family … Probably the only ones happy with the result.

Hope to sing the song next week, but I won’t be putting money on it..!

About Roseann Testagrossa

Footy tragic, North Melbourne supporter and cheersquad member,but don’t totally hate other clubs, except Carlton of course. Have a strong liking of Hawthorn, and hope to see my Roos improve in upcoming seasons.

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