AFL Round 2 – Richmond v Collingwood: Half a game

 

The Pre-Game

For me, it normally starts when the teams come out. That’s when I really start thinking about the game the Tigers face. But I’ve been thinking about this one all week. The ghost of games past is lingering. Brodie Grundy – Scrooge.

 

I don’t like Collingwood. This is not a new feeling, though I like them even less after last week’s ridiculous booing of Travis Cloke. It’s an indictment on their club. Is it irrational to blame the entire club? Of course it is. Not all Pies fans are the same. But this is footy. Rationality has no place here.

 

The three changes for the Tigers are unforced. McIntosh, Hunt and Lloyd, gone. We’re not resting on our laurels. I like it. It’s aggressive. All three laid one tackle last week and McIntosh went at 62% disposal efficiency.

 

Pleasingly, Taylor Hunt’s campaign to win the VFL Best and Fairest is back on track. I won’t have to see him buggerising with the pill on a half-back flank this week, which is sure to be good for my health.

 

Half-time

In the car driving home from hockey training, I flick the radio on. We’re minus 60 in uncontested possessions. We’re also behind on the board. It’s not looking promising. It’s grubby. Thank the Lord that Collingwood’s forward line functions about as well as I do without my morning coffee. It sounds like we should be gone already. I’m not hopeful.

 

The Second Half

At home, I pour a gin and tonic. I figure I might need it. I’m pre-empting pain. Collingwood gets the early goal. I sip. It’s a big one. We’re 16 down and we’ve only kicked 23. I’m not a mathematician but I know this isn’t good. My glass is half-empty.

 

Ellis kicks a ridiculous goal on his left. Riewoldt then slots another, despite Richo trying to put the mucker on him. There’s hope. Maybe.

 

Back in the guts, Collingwood win it and feed it out to the lumbering figure of Grundy. He duly kicks a goal on the run from 50. Surely not. No. That doesn’t happen. But when it comes to Grundy and Richmond, anything can happen.

 

Rance gets done holding the pill deep in defence soon after. Chris Mayne misses the shot. I breathe.

 

Rioli takes a flying catch at gully, inside the forward 50. He wanders off the mark and it amounts to nothing. Soon after, he’s on the end of it again. Lambert and Riewoldt point up at the big sticks. He goes back and slots it. Things are shifting – we’re just about on top.

 

Unfortunately, Scott Pendlebury is here, there and everywhere. He’s their get-out-of-jail-free card in tight spaces. His hands are so quick and his decision-making is so efficient. He makes it looks like those trying to tackle him are running very, very slowly.

 

The gin is still there but maybe the glass is actually half-full. Dusty gets gang tackled, with three Pies hanging off him – nearly one per limb. He somehow squeezes a kick backward. Riewoldt marks but misses the set shot.

 

It’s a moment that stands out, though, because Collingwood put the kick-in straight down Ben Lennon’s throat. Back from the VFL in place of Lloyd, he goes back and kicks the goal. I fist-pump a little too wildly and my gin ends up all over the living room floor.

 

We’re seven points up at the final change. It’s ours to lose but we get an early goal. It’s a crime against football, the way it goes through. Houli kicks an absolute mongrel from outside 50, which nearly reaches the top of the square. Everyone’s misjudged it completely and it bounces like only a football can. It’s as if the ball has a mind of its own and doesn’t want anyone to touch it, so its decided to run in the direction of the goal line. It gets there, certainly before any Collingwood player, and just before Ben Lennon’s toe.

 

Both sides trade goals and Bruce mentions the war. By that I mean he mentions last year’s last-gasp loss. Stop it, please.

 

The last few minutes are pandemonium. We’re up by 11 and there’s effort after effort to lock the ball in. Our attack on the ball is ferocious and Collingwood just can’t seem to break out. Treloar gathers in his defensive 50 and sizes up his options. Cotchin puts his head down and smashes him, hauling him to the ground. It’s not clear if it’s high or holding the ball at first. I wait. It goes our way.

 

Cotchin kicks a point, but that single moment is the match-winning moment. Even we can’t find a way to lose now. Captain Cotch. Make him Prime Minister, I say. I’m sure he’ll save our weekends. He’s certainly saved mine.

 

Any good weekend usually features a Richmond win and a Collingwood loss. Both are already in and its only Thursday. Richmond 2-0. Collingwood 0-2. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

RICHMOND         2.4   5.5    9.8    14.15 (99)

COLLINGWOOD  2.4   5.10  7.13   11.14 (80)

Votes

3. S Pendlebury (Coll), 2. T Cotchin (Rich), 1. B Grundy (Coll)

GOALS
Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Cotchin 2, Martin 2, Rioli, Lennon, Houli, Ellis, Edwards, Caddy, Butler, Grigg
Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott 3, White 2, Treloar 2, Moore, Broomhead, Mayne, Grundy

BEST
Richmond: Cotchin, Rance, Caddy, Grimes, Houli, Martin, Nankervis
Collingwood: Grundy, Hoskin-Elliott, Pendlebury, Treloar, Adams

Umpires: DeBoy, Schmitt, Kamolins

Official crowd: 58,236 at the MCG

About Jack Banister

Journalism student @ Melbourne Uni, Brunswick Hockey Club Men’s Coach, tortured Tigers fan.

Comments

  1. Collingwood 0-2, Beautiful!

  2. Stainless says:

    Jack
    It may amount to nothing because neither side is that good, but there’s an interesting narrative emerging in these games around the whole Treloar move to Collingwood and the “leadership” thing at Richmond. Cotchin played a ripper game and I’ve no doubt it was driven by the outrageous criticism he copped after the corresponding game last year. His stalking and tackling of Treloar through the night also looked pretty driven and personal too. Don’t tell me his decision to choose Collingwood over Richmond doesn’t still rankle. All up it amounted to a very satisfying mirror image result to the debacle a year ago. I must agree that I had similar fears to you about what Grundy might unleash in the last quarter but despite his superb game overall, he made several blues at critical moments and suffered the humiliation of being sold candy by Nankervis in a pivotal play. What goes around come around i guess.

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