Round 1: Same old story for Tigers v Blues

What a difference a year makes. 12 months ago I went to the opening match expecting a Richmond victory that would lead us to a finals berth with nothing but big things ahead. This year all I’m hoping is that Richmond are competitive.

The spiralling downfall that was ‘Richmond ’09 has left me no hope for this season, quite frankly if any Richmond supporter does expect a big season, their out of their mind.

Although I’ve written the season off, I haven’t ruled out winning this game. Last time we played we only lost by 20 points with Fev kicking nine and Judd tearing us apart. Both who aren’t playing.

As mum is holidaying in New York I’m going to the game with my Carlton friend Nick. Our short lives following our respective teams have been plagued with failure and wooden spoons. At least Nick’s finally getting something out of his mob.

It’s no surprise the train is packed with Richmond supporters. We’ve gone early to catch Richo’s farewell. As we get into the ground a father with two little boys asks the lady lady in the merchandise stands “Do you have any Richo masks left?” she replies with “Sorry, we ran out of them a long time ago.” I’m glad people are making a big deal out of this.

The Richo tribute is done well. All supporters, Tiger, Blue and whoever else may be here stand up and applaud the great man. As he gets about half way around the moment is ruined by an unnecesary interview. With the MCG’s pitiful speakers we can hardly hear what he’s saying anyway. I miss him already.

With Richo’s moment gone we can now look to the Richmond of the future. With four new players in tonight, it’s not so much about winning, but seeing signs from the young cubs. They’ll be easy to spot as one of them seems to have a palm tree growing out of his head while another is the only aboriginal in the team besides Tambling.

The crowd errupts as the ball is bounced, so does skipper Chris Newman as he brings Mitch Robinson down a bit late in the first play of the game. Carlton go into attack and thirty seconds in, Jarrad Waite has kicked the first goal of the season. A second goal comes from Carlton’s Fev compensation Lachie Henderson soon after. Carlton don’t let up the pressure when they follow up with another goal this time thanks to Murphy. We’ve hardly had a kick and we’re three goals down. This is far too reminicent of last year.

Carlton dominate the quarter, Richmond can’t even get it into their 50 let alone kick a goal. I’m relieved as Hislop finally kicks Richmond’s first from a nice peice of crumbing. It doesn’t seem to be enough as Yarran responds immediately with a running goal. The Carlton fan behind us sarcastically yells “Who will kick all our goals?” The lady next him shouts “All of them!”

Before they get too comfortable Jack Riewoldt soccers a goal, Brett Deledio bombs one from outside 50 after a quick clearence, A brawl starts in the middle, Morton kicks a goal with his pattened right foot snap and the Tiger’s are fired up.

Betts kills the momentum with a very questionable mark and kicks a goal. The siren beats Richmond to recover.

Blues are looking strong with Carrazzo leading from the centre, but if Richmond can hold that intensity anything can happen.

The second follows the same pattern as the first. Carlton come out all guns blazing while Richmond look pitiful. Murphy, Betts and Yarran all kick seconds before Richmond realise that the second quarter’s started. The match so far is summed up when Daniel Jackson shoots from inside 50 to not even make the distance, Carlton respond straight away as Gibbs does what Jackson couldn’t. Richmond have missed far too many chances.

Solid defence earns Thompson a goal and the Tiger’s have another spurt of decent football. Riewoldt and Morton finish with goals to keep Richmond within striking distance at half time.

The third is a bit of a struggle. Neither team can get then advantage after Waite takes a strong mark and goals for the first.

Richmond look set to break through when first gamer Ben Nason takes a mark and finds himself with a very gettable set shot. A split second before he kicks it I realise he’s run too close to the man in the mark. Fulfilling my prophesy Nason slams the ball into the defender’s hands. Luckily he gets a good ricochet and the he finds the ball again. This time running he snaps it and shanks it right off out on the full. Only at Richmond you can find something like that.

The highlight comes from Houlihan who in the middle of the ground, spins out of a tackle, spins out of a second, tries to figure out which way Carlton’s going, spins out of a third tackle then shrugs off a fourth Richmnond player just for good measure before handing it off to Carrazzo who kicks it into Betts, but Eddie can’t finish the job.

Before us Tiger fans have a chance to call for Nason’s head he kicks an impressive goal giving us a sniff. He’ll be relieved to have kicked that one. At the end of the quarter Carlton lead by five goals.

In the final term I become very frustrated. I start to realise that our “experienced” players haven’t done a thing. Cousins, Tambling, Newman all haven’t contributed while Deledio and Cotchin are both playing below standard. When we have 14 new players at the club they can’t afford to have poor games.

With the leadership group in poor form the young cubs get tired and Carlton are effectively without an opposition. The game loses all sting and Richmond is blown out of the water.

Carlton are in high spirits after the game but they still haven’t convinced me. They can’t rely on guys like Yarran to kick 3 goals every game, the Henderson types will have to step up. Having said that, their midfield looked fantastic even without Judd and will give their forwards plenty of scoring opportunities.

As for Richmond well, same old story.

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

BEST
Richmond Riewoldt, Jackson, Deledio, Hislop
Carlton Carrazzo, Betts, Murphy, Gibbs, Yarran, McLean

GOALS
Richmond Morton 2, Riewoldt 2, Deledio, Hislop, Nason, Cousins, Thompson
Carlton O’hailpin 3, Yarran 3, Betts 3, Murphy 2, Gibbs 2, Waite 2, McLean, Henderson, Simpson

Comments

  1. Carringbush says:

    I’m not one to hold grudges but after Richmond reneged on sharing gate takings with the Pies several years ago, my secret schadenfreude at their ongoing poor form has become amplified. Having said that, accurate kicking and better passing skills would have put pressure on the Blues. Hardwick will be very good for the Tigers.

  2. John Butler says:

    Hang in there Michael

    I also suspect things will progress better under the new coach. But first you had to clean out an already bare cupboard.

    And I think the Blues will surprise many this year (but of course I would say that).

  3. Damian Watson says:

    Great work Michael,

    I know what you mean, for most of my brief life, I have been plagued with the disappointment of loss after loss from the Blues and only at this stage are we beginning to field a side with talent and great quality.

    Just keep persisting.

  4. Michael Allan says:

    Yes no doubt the clean out had to happen, just might need to cop a few floggings like this as a consequence.
    Not sure about the Blues yet, anyone could’ve looked good against us, we’ll see for sure when the play Brisbane.

  5. “This is as poor as we’ll get” Hardwick

    Let’s hope so.

Leave a Comment

*