Round 1 – Richmond vs Carlton: Hard work ahead for Hardwick

by Adam Bulman

“I can’t wait until Adam gets here,” said my Maths teacher, sauntering into the classroom wearing a Carlton polo shirt and a smug grin.

A few people muttered “He’s there.” As the teacher finally noticed my presence, I spoke up, feigning a confidence I did not feel. “Looking forward to tomorrow night Mr Kossigo? Because then you can distract yourself from the sorrow of tonight’s game.”

Despite those confident words, I knew that 2010 wasn’t going to be a happy year for the Tigers, but I was relaxed in the knowledge that it could never be as bad as Round 1 last year. I was looking forward to seeing Hardwick’s boys put in a good contest, and to seeing how him and our first gamers would fare, and in absolute bewilderment as to why Angus Graham had been left out. Even so, I thought maybe we’d give the Bluebaggers a run for their money, if the planets were in aligment.

After homework, some MSN talk about the match, some examination of the Round 1 lineups and some subsequent fixing of the Supercoach team, I sat down in front of the box for the first game of the home and away season.

2 minutes in. Blues 2 goals, Tigers 1 possession. This could get ugly.

Then Lachie Henderson lines up for a set shot in the pocket. Since he was playing against Richmond, the result never seemed in doubt. Another six points. Then Setanta put one through. Then McLean. Suddenly the Blues are out to a 28 point lead after 10 minutes, and I heartily regretted my words to Mr Kossigo. Who needs Fev? Tiger clangers, and Hardwick four-letter words, were aplenty.

Then one of my least favourite Tigers, Tom Hislop, improved his standing in my books by putting through a left-foot snap. After a Yarran goal, the Tigers bounced back with goals to Riewoldt, Deledio and Morton to get back within 10 points. Would I go to quarter time in with optimism? If not for the umpires, I may have, for Eddie Betts “mark” (snatch) and goal put the Blues 17 points up.

Again, the Blues raced out of the blocks in the 2nd quarter, getting the first 4 goals. In between Daniel Jackson, for all his endeavour, proved that his kicking is far from a strength with his shocking set-shot shank, and the clangers continued. Missed handballs, botched short passes, weak tackles. However, in parallel to the first quarter, the Tigers piled on 3 in a row to head into the long break 19 points down.

The third quarter was a comedy of errors in parts. Embarrassingly for Channel 10, at one point the score box in the top left hand corner of the screen claimed it was the first quarter. My friend Josh told me the next day that he had turned the TV on at that point and thought “WHAT? 74 to 50 in the 1st quarter?” Were the techies at Channel 10 mocking the errors on the field by making a blunder of their own? On field, blonde-locked Ben Nason kicked a set shot into the man on the mark, before a few minutes later kicking a running goal from 50. Not something everyone could claim to have done at their first visit to the MCG. Eddie Betts was looking dangerous up forward kicking 3, and Carlton were nearly five goals up entering the last.

But the Tigers were knackered after having chased Carlton around all game, and the last quarter only served to allow the Blues to increase their lead to 56. By the end of the game, I had made a few observations:

–         Our rucks are clearly not up to it. Simmonds can occasionally get the hitouts, but is awful once he gets the ball in hand, and doesn’t seem to know his limitations. Him and Vickery struggled to get to the contests. Again, why was Graham left out?

–         Our backline had a bad day, in particular Moore and Newman. However Connors, despite a few early clangers, improved as the game went on in a rebounding role.

–         The players seemed to be content to bomb the ball inside 50 and hope for the best as there was very little presenting and the Blues’ defence effectively mopped up the crumbs.

–         Hardwick has a lot of work to do.

It’s going to be a hard season, and I’ve already decided that my main focus will be the development of Richmond’s young players, for Martin and Nason in particular were impressive. The match was nowhere as bad as the corresponding fixture last year, but all the same, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to Maths the next day.

CARLTON 7.1  11.1  14.7  18.12 (120)
RICHMOND 4.2  7.6  9.8  9.10 (64)

VOTES:

3. Eddie Betts

2. Andrew Carrazzo

1. Marc Murphy

Comments

  1. Danielle says:

    great Job Adam :)
    That teacher sounds MEAN!!!
    dressing up!! i mean all i cop is
    “GEE DANIELLE WHAT HAPPEND TO YOUR MAGPIES?”
    and i just dieeeee of embarassment! lol

    Goodluck for this season, your gonna need it.

    Danni

  2. Josh Barnstable says:

    Adam, we all have teachers like that. They are annoying but fun to get along with at the same time.

    Good report, better luck next week…

  3. Nah the teacher in question is a good bloke normally, he just likes to have a joke.

  4. Damian Watson says:

    Great work Adam,

    In regards to the ruck contests I found it intriguing that Warnock was the only player contesting at some stages and Riewoldt was forced to compete against him.

    Do you believe many of your ruckman aren’t imposing themselves around the field?

  5. Onya Adz. And Mr Bulman makes a special guest appearance in this week’s issue of Stats Entertainment, out now at all good Almanac home pages…

  6. Cheers Gigs.

    Damo, as I said I think our rucks were very disappointing on Thursday night, particularly in regards to getting to contests. Also, Simmonds is quite predictable with the placement of his hitouts. I think the Tigers made a mistake in leaving Graham out of the side, and also in delisting Pattison. They only have 4 ruckmen on their list – Simmonds, Graham, Browne and Vickery. The former is a dinosaur and the latter two are not fully evolved, so Richmond’s ruck stocks are very thin now, probably their weakest position, and the best ruckman at Richmond is assistant coach Brendon Lade.

    Hopefully Lade will have a positive influence on the development of Richmond’s young ruckmen.

  7. Steve Healy says:

    Maybe Lade should come out of retirement, that’d be handy lol

  8. Josh Barnstable says:

    Haha that bit about Lade being the best Ruckman at Richmond made me laugh.

  9. Damian Watson says:

    Everyone loves the big man from Kangaroo Island.

    I’m sure Vickery will develop he has shown positive signs and can even make an apperance up forward.

  10. Some have questioned whether Vickery is more of a forward or a ruckman. I think he should be groomed as a ruckman, for Richmond have a greater need there at the moment. Whatever Richmond do, they shouldn allow him to settle into one or the other.

  11. Steve Healy says:

    Great piece Adam, forgot to say.

    Yarran is the round 1 rising star nomination

  12. Steve, your Richmond piece is up. Josh, your Freo piece is still coming! Sorry, but it’s been a wild few days in terms of number of pieces coming in.

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