Round 1: A new dawn, same old Tigers

By Tony Robb

Thursday 25 March 2010, a new dawn, a new season. Like a child on Christmas morning, there are no more sleeps. Being isolated from Melbourne has not shadowed from the pre-season build-up. My morning dose of Sports 927 has wetted the appetite after what has been a tormented summer of cricket and the A League. Does anyone actually know someone who watches the A league?

Speculation, rumours and expectation run rife. The discussion and debate between Chrisso, Mick and Tony “ I DO know about sport” Jones on the Prime Time Footie Panel only serves to reinforce why Collingwood has only won a single flag in over 50 years. But the “Main Game” has arrived and tonight the Blues will take on the Tigers in the season opener.

As a Baggers supporter, and family turncoat, of more than 40 yrs, I’ve been lucky to witness many great Carlton teams and individuals within those teams. Did the Blues of 2010 have the ability to emulate the former greats? Maybe. However, with the loss of a troubled child and the absence of The Chosen One combined with a “celebratory” post season made things a little uncertain.

Based on last year’s effort it could be argued that the boys would be in the hunt again this year. Based on last year’s effort it could also be argued that Carlton were one dimensional and the loss of Fevola would scuttle any chance of making the eight. But we were playing Richmond and the Tigers had hardly set the footie world on fire in the lead-up to 2010, or for 30 years for that matter.

Game time approached and I prepared in my normal methodical fashion. All TV’s working? Check. Scarf out? Check. Enough grog in the fridge to get me through the game, just in case the Tigers make it a close one? Check. After rustling up what could only be described as an inspired a meal under pressure I was left with one final task before the 7.40pm start and that was to ring Steve, former manager and now coach of the Belconnen Magpies under 14s, who has unfortunately been laid up after ripping his hamstring water skiing some weeks earlier. Stick to the tractor tube, mate.

He was a little surprised that I’d gone the early crow particularly as the game had only been going 20 minutes. Yes, the final detail I had not checked was the starting time and the AFL didn’t want the kiddies up late on school night and bounced the Sherrin at 7.10pm. They really are moral guardians. However, the standard bet of one case, no points start was confirmed. I reminded Steve that he was yet to hand over the two cases from last year but being the ever optimistic Richmond supporter he responded that the local beer shop had a Buy 2, Get 3 Special and that he’d grab them tomorrow.

I frantically changed the channel and sat down belatedly to watch the Blues take a near three goal break into quarter time. After watching the highlights, it appeared as though my crow, while premature, was not without basis, as the Blues had swept to an early 6 blot lead. The “Tiny Tigers’ as they will no doubtable be known, answered back with 4 snags of their own with the quarter finishing with the Tigers trailing by 17 points. The Carlton forward set up came as no surprise with the Spudman up in the square with two yapping terriers in the form of Betts and Yarran waiting for the scraps. Predictably, Jarred Waite started at centre half forward, kicked the 1st goal of year, as he did last year, before reverting to the backline. Carlton’s mid-field was sharp and quick with Carazzo seemingly invisible to the Tiger’s defence.

Yet the young boys from Punt Rd got back into it despite fielding several young 1st gamers, one of which had a remarkable resemblance to Derek Kickett (the last AFL footballer to debut with a beer gut and a moustache). The kid with the Goldilocks haircut got a few touches and scored a sausage in his first game. Cousin’s looked fit although he has apparently spent summer on the slops. Who wouldn’t after playing for the Tigers last year.

It became more apparent as the game progressed that Kreuzer will be a star. He made Troy Simmonds look slower than he usually does, and dominated around that ground as well as when he had a run up forward. His new back up ruckman, Warnock, finally got onto the ground and, while having the gait of a new born giraffe, he showed enough to think her may be of some value. The game was a little better contest in the 2nd quarter with the Blues stretching their lead to 19 points. The Tigers gained a little unfounded confidence after new coach Damien Hardwicke finally worked out that a zone defence you can drive Mack through is not really a defence at all. Revert to game plan B. One on One, Mano a mano.

It worked in patches but the second half became a little pedestrian with the Blues outscoring the Tiny’s by 7 goals to 2. The Tigers failed to register a goal in the last quarter. The debacle, which had become the ruck contest, forced Hardman Hardwicke put a small defender (who didn’t jump for it) against the Kruez Control. Carazzo continued to get easy ball all night and was best amongst a group of players who were never really challenged physically. There were nine goal kickers for the Blues with Yarran, Eddie and the Spudman kicking three each. Fev Who? they called. The mid field was dominant and the return of the Messiah in round 4 will only make it stronger. Carlton’s defence was solid but so were the levee banks up north until 300ml of rain fell. Richmond offers no threat of a deluge and are unlikely even to trouble the rain gauge too often this year so the jury’s still out on the Blues.

Still we sat on top of the mountain for at least one day and Stevo’s up for 3 slabs. Where the view will be from in 22 weeks remains uncertain but I think there will be a few teams looking up our shorts from below. They might just get to smell what we have been cooking yet. Go Blue Boys and welcome back footie.

Richmond 4.2 7.6 9.8 9.10 (64)
Carlton 7.1 11.1 14.7 18.12 (120)

GOALS

Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Morton 2, Deledio, Thomson, Hislop, Nason, Cousins
Carlton: O’hAilpin 3, Betts 3, Yarran 3, Murphy 2, Waite 2, Gibbs 2, McLean, Henderson, Simpson
My Votes: 3. A.Carazzo 2. B.Gibbs 1. M.Kreuzer

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn’t Mick Malthouse driving a train.

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Good stuff Tony

    Glad you gave Kreuzer a vote. He seemed to be overlooked in a lot of reports.

    If ever there was a case of an older generation of ruckman coming face to face with the future, it was Simmonds v Kreuzer.

  2. Stephen Cooke says:

    How will Simmonds look back on his career? Three clubs – two of them woeful (Freo and Richmond), part of the Melb GF team that got whacked by 10 goals, one good year at Richmond, etc
    He’s played 191 games so should get to 200.
    I think the same of Richard Osborne who played at four clubs (or was it five). Would he be happy?

  3. Cookey,

    I think Simmo’s got the best out of himself. I admire his courage in changing clubs. (I have a very different view to most on this subject.) He’s been at poor clubs, but the greater reflection on him will be that he reaches 200 games.

    I thought Kreuzer was clearly best on ground. Certainly the most influential player, which in my view made him the best.

  4. Tony Robb says:

    Daff, I probably agree with you on Kreuzer (amazing footie brain for a 20yr old) but it was litle hard to ignore the Carazzo and his 40 touches (albeit mostly easy ones because Hardwick didn’t bother puting anyone on him). I like the way Gibbs goes about his work. While Murphy looks prettier I think Gibbs has a better defensive game and works harder off the ball.

    In regard to Simmons, the worst aspect is that they have no one the back him up or allow him to go forward. That McGuan (I think)was put in the centre as a fourth midfilder trying to crumb off Kreuzer was rather sad reflection of 5 wasted years under Wallace.

    Prediction: Blues by 16 over the Lions tonight. The Spudman starts on Fev and gives him a boot up the arse a la Cameron “my football ability is genetically linked” Cloke before Jamison does on him keeping The Troubled One to 1 goal 2 behinds for the night

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