All About the Mo Baby!

THWACK.

That’s the sound all Richmond folk have been expecting to hear. While the rest of the footballing fraternity has been carried away by the Tiger revolution, praising the new composure of this young side on a run of convincing wins; the Punt Road faithful have been bracing themselves. There is never sustained talk of finals prospects without ‘the comedown.’ A swift and precise kick to the midriff that doubles the Tiges over and puts a grimace on the dial. Most seasons that hum along to the yellow and black tune have several of these moments. Collingwood got in first. Then Essendon tore them asunder. Both were frustratingly predictable. Richmond have flattered to deceive so often in the past thirty seasons that there is now a distinct pattern to the disappointment – Come the big stage, come the collapse. The damage those big game losses wreak are, rather perversely, not what sees the Tigers miss the finals though. The big moments simply sow a seed of doubt, which then flourishes with frustrating losses to sides at their level or below. Saturday was a chance to put North Melbourne away, to open up the path to the eight by taking out a direct opponent for the spot. Yet only one team seemed to realise what was at stake. Beware the desperate side, for they have nothing left to lose. Spare no pity for the side who lacks the intensity to take up the fight.

Now, I know a thing or two about being ambushed by a fired up Kangas. The Saints got obliterated in the opening quarter of our fixture by a rampant Roos and, thus cracked opened, spent the rest of the match attempting to stem the haemorrhaging. The Saints knew their fate at quarter time. They conceded ground too easily. Once you chase the contest from that far back, you are already halfway to losing. Richmond got put away in a second term blitzkrieg that was just as devastating. Half time was excruciatingly long, it was simply dead men cruelly being made to wait for the slow march to the gallows.

There can be no excuses. What there must be is a resolve to push past the failure and start again….That won’t be easy given the haunting that surrounds this week’s clash. Since Richmond sold a home game to Cairns, they have met the Suns in FNQ twice and lost both. Last outing Karmichael Hunt’s ‘Boys Own’ moment came on full time. It capped off a catastrophic defensive brainsnap from the Tiges. The set-up from the centre bounce, rather than locking the game down, asked the Suns to take it on. Beware the desperate side…..again.

This week’s trip to Cairns then, is a victory that has to be. In the new professional footballing lexicon, this is a ‘non-negotiable’ win. In a season when the hoodoo of opening round capitulations to Carlton have been laid to fitful rest, a Cairns uprising is imperative.

Season’s gather momentum for a myriad different reasons. Some are positive, like the month of convincing footy that the Tigers have just put in. Others are negative. The Saints have gained a momentum in their season of starting brightly and chasing the game hard early. They then slowly lose in-game momentum and fall away to gallantly lose by a near enough to five goal margin each time. Sunday’s Freo match was a shining exemplar of this momentum of mediocrity. Scott Watters has made the right call though, announcing post-match that the young players who showed something will keep their place in the side. It is a opportunity that failure has ventured. Murdoch, Saunders and Lee deserve the chance to push the future nearer. The Saints faithful understand that a love for Kosi can’t cloud the truth. Winning is out of reach for this side until they move forward with the kids. The immediacy of our brave new society has left a yearning for greatness to last. It doesn’t happen, yet we are surprised when failure arrives. Let it run its course, losing is about as permanent as winning, it just takes more gumption to stick with it out.

I simply despise the game’s early leavers. Always have. A deep-seated part of my football psyche insists that you have to stay and take your punishment. Those blokes out there on the field can’t leave, why should you forsake them? I will never forget the pounding I endured in the ’08 Prelim to stand and proudly send Robert Harvey off the way he deserved. Bittersweet but profound.

Richmond will lose games no matter how good they become. Momentum is less about winning streaks and more about bouncing back immediately from adversity. There is a counterintuitive aspect to getting whacked. Losing close games can mess with your resolve – Did we fail because we weren’t good enough or did we just get unlucky? Getting pole-axed might be easier to recover from. The sheer embarrassment of having your metaphoric pants removed in public will fuel the desire to remove the stain of humiliation. The Tigers get a chance to put the Roos failure into the anomaly category. Anything less than a win will wobble the legs. That whack to the midriff, if followed by another one straight away might see the knees hit the mat. Get out of your corner Tiges and start punching!

Comments

  1. Neil Belford says:

    Suns for me – not that my tipping is going all that well.

  2. Richmond had as much right to claim the Big Mo as Josh did in the early days of the Santos campaign. The banner on Saturday was tempting fate.

    Once Richmond have 13 wins on the board, then we can start talking Finals for the good folk down at Tigerland.

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