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Round 15 – Richmond v Sydney: A road trip and a Richmond idiot

It’s Tuesday and we’re out on the road, again. To Melbourne, for the footy, again.

Several hours later, as I sit comfortably ensconced in the driver’s seat, cruising at 110, thinking how lucky I am to be on yet another road trip, the vulnerability of life decides to hit!

I love road trips, especially footy road trips. I love the sky, the clouds, the hills, the trees, the grasses and the birds, and I love the shadows and the light in the ever-changing landscape. Something new attracts me every single time I drive the well-travelled Hume, and I never tire of it.

The sun is shining at 2.30pm as we approach Gundagai. Beethoven is playing, and Marshall is dozing. My thoughts oscillate between the composer’s genius, the visual scenery, the truck I am passing (filled with poor creatures on their way to the death chambers), the pub we’ll be going to in Albury in a few hours, and the footy.

And then, a very ugly scene, and one none of us wants to encounter – flashing lights, and a line of cars, going nowhere. Police vehicles were parked at right angles across the northern bound lanes of the highway, ambulances stood empty, and emergency vehicles surrounded what was once a motor car.

I felt sick to the stomach. Surely no-one had survived this one. The sight of the vehicle stayed with me for hours, and thoughts of the families and loved ones, even longer.

The news in Albury told us that a 22 year old man had died at the scene in a single car crash at about 2pm on the Hume Highway. They asked for witnesses to come forward.

As I tried to sleep that night in Albury, the wrecked vehicle kept surfacing, and I could almost feel the pain the victim’s family were going through; I also couldn’t help but feel grateful that I had made it through this section of our road trip successfully, and not as a mere road carnage statistic. And as I eventually dozed off, I was certainly reminded of the vulnerability of life.

Two days later, leaving Etihad Stadium at 10pm on Melbourne’s coldest June day in over 25 years, the words invincible and vulnerable are still hovering. The home team had gelled tonight and never really looked like losing; the visitors had given in to the pressure, made too many basic errors, and never really looked like winning. (Although Ben Ronke’s two goals in a minute to start the game was promising!)

Richmond’s late burst of three goals to shut out the first quarter did the damage. For the remainder of the match that 18 point margin remained fairly much the difference, and even though we got to within four points early in the last term, we simply didn’t play well enough. The old adage Beaten by the better team on the day certainly applied tonight.

Instead of enjoying a Swans four quarter winning effort amongst like-minded supporters, we were surrounded by the opposition, and one, in particular, a right idiot. This time round, on Level 3, the yellow and black far outweighed any red and white.

“Unbelievable!” cried the idiot, sitting directly behind me, as Buddy received his first free.

His voice was loud, and unpleasant, and straight into my ear drums!

“Bloody unbelievable, they can only win if they get frees”, he bellowed a few minutes later.

And then, “Unbelieeeevable, he gets away with everything”, whenever Buddy was on the scene.

I thought of moving, but what would be the point. The stand was full of them.

“Unbelievable, can you believe it”, echoed over my head as an obvious free was paid to one of our guys, a minute later.

He didn’t stop for the entire four quarters. “Unbelievable” was almost his entire vocabulary.

I never get involved with idiot opposition supporters, I just sit there pretty much ignoring them. However, when a replay was shown on the big screen of the Richmond elbow straight into the face of Luke Parker, lying on the boundary line directly beneath us, my inner self got the better of me.

I turned round, glared at his stupid face, and said “How about that, where’s your unbelievable now?” All he could do was carry on about Buddy. Buddy this and Buddy that, and even when I calm-and-collectedly replied “I’m not talking about Buddy, I’m talking about that incident, that elbow”, on he went, blah, blah Buddy, blah, blah.

Tell you what though. Turning around in my seat, looking at nothing but those Richmond supporters’ faces, was pretty scary! Especially the idiot’s. He really did look just like he sounded.

So, on he went for the remainder of the match. I must have counted at least 40 “Unbelievables” throughout. And they were only ever when we received a free or things went our way. I could have perhaps understood if he’d used the word to praise his own team’s efforts, which were plentiful, but I don’t suppose you can expect idiots to act rationally and intelligently.

As we packed up our seats to leave, my eyes met fleetingly with the woman sitting beside him. It was his elderly mother (I’d heard him say “Mum” earlier). “Sorry”, she mouthed, as we headed off into the bitterly cold Melbourne night, unhappy with our loss, but pleased to be far away from the idiots of the world.

And now, as we prepare for our return trip up the Hume and back home to a nice, warm Sydney, I’m hoping that this past game has been just a little blip on the horizon, and that in six nights’ time we’ll be once again proudly singing Cheer Cheer , after we’ve beaten Geelong.

Go Bloods!

 

 

RICHMOND     6.1       7.2       11.5     14.9 (93)
SYDNEY           3.1       5.1       10.1     11.1 (67)

 

GOALS
Richmond:
Riewoldt 3, Lambert 3, Short 2, Butler 2, Rioli, Vlastuin, Caddy, Edwards
Sydney: Franklin 4, Ronke 2, Florent 2, Parker 2, Hayward

 

BEST
Richmond: Riewoldt, Edwards, Lambert, Vlastuin, Cotchin, Nankervis, Astbury
Sydney: Kennedy, Franklin, Hewett, Parker, Lloyd

 

INJURIES
Richmond: Conca (ankle)
Sydney: Heeney (concussion)

 

Umpires: Stevic, Chamberlain, Findlay

 

Crowd: 43,519 at Etihad Stadium

 

 

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About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016. www.myswansloveaffair.com

Comments

  1. Stainless says:

    Jan
    Every team has their idiot supporters and we’ve all got our stories of being stuck next to them. I think both our reports of the game speak about far worse things than loudmouth fans and the importance of perspective. I’d be surprised if the Swans and Tigers don’t meet in September.
    Two of Buddy’s goals came from laughable free kicks btw.

  2. Jan,
    a fine tale, and in the end, no hurt to any idiots
    We all have our selective blindnesses I guess.
    Your passion for yours is bright and bold!

    But in the end, it all pales beside a wreck on the highway and the consequences thereof.

    Good luck against Geelong next week. They are going to need it!

    And Mr Franklin is indeed a protected species.

  3. Daniel Flesch says:

    A bit off topic … funny how people are now saying Buddy gets undeserved frees and is a protected species . When he was at Hawthorn we complained he had unwarranted free kicks paid against him and didn’t get them when he should’ve. Perspective , eh ?

  4. Thanks one and all. There will always be varying thoughts on the greats of the game, in this case, Buddy. Swans people would agree with your sentiments, Daniel, but others obviously disagree. Not that I’m a social media person, but interesting to read some snippets, after this weekend’s game, about Rance and his staging performances, especially when playing on Buddy.

    Then again, supporters will always side with their own team’s players.

  5. Joe De Petro says:

    HI Jan, enjoyed reading your report.

    On the Rance, Buddy thing. Rance is partial to a bit of staging, as is Buddy. Both like to win, both will do whatever they can to get that win. I have no problem with any of this. It is up to the umpires to decide if what they see is real or imagined.

    Currently, Rance is being pilloried for staging, something you see players doing in every game, sometimes on multiple occasions. Singling him out for this is not really fair.

    The thing that I find really grating about Franklin is the ridiculous “Buddy arc” nonsense. No other player can step off his line and not be called to play on but somehow Franklin can. Surely, every time he moves off the line, the umpires should be calling out the words “play on” and he should be fair game from that point. It gives him an unfair advantage that no-one else gets. He improves his angle, he doesn’t kick over the man on the mark, he can get closer to the mark because he is not kicking over it and there is no-one standing over where he does kick it.

    All it takes is two words, “Play on” as soon as the umpire registers that he has moved off his mark.

    To be fair on Sydney though. They have inherited this. It was something conjured up by Alistair Clarkson years ago to protect his man and accepted by a gormless administration.

  6. Tony Courtin says:

    Bloody idiots indeed,Jan. Us footy fanatics are a species in own right,but blended with a mob/sheep mentality,becomes a highly combustible (some may say irrational) mix! Richmond are good,but we made them look better. We really need Melican back. Would love to meet Richmond in the finals,preferably the ultimate one.

  7. Keiran Croker says:

    Perspective! The vulnerability of life versus a game.

    I’m as bad as any supporter, very one eyed for the Swans. Rance is an outstanding player and J.Riewoldt played one of the all time great games.

    Buddy got two doubtful free kicks, however kicked two other gems. Generally since he has been with The Swans my observation is that he gets few free kicks and gets a lot against him, some due to poor tackling technique, many just because he is Buddy. I think a check of the stats will confirm numbers. He is now running pretty straight when he kicks for goal, when he does swing around he is usually called to play on. Have a look over the next few weeks Joe.

    Jan, despite the loss I had a lovely night chatting to Jack and Judy, Swans supporters over from Tassie. Lovely people. There was a Swans supporter in front of us who was a dill. He could not stop bagging us, everything we did was wrong. So every club has there dills and I know that sometimes it’s me.

  8. Keiran Croker says:

    Just checked on Buddy’s career free kicks – 336 for, 558 against … hardly a protected player!

  9. Thanks, Joe, for your insights into the “Buddy arc”, and Keiran for your stats. Most interesting.

    The idiocy of the man in question, sitting behind me, had nothing to do with being one-eyed (who could be more so than me!), but his ravings were simply plain stupid! I rarely sit amongst the opposition and will make sure in future to be with my own.

    Can’t even think about September at this stage, Tony. Got to get over some top teams first. Can wish, however! Go Bloods!

  10. Dave Brown says:

    Have found of late, Jan, that success has been a much greater revealer of character than failure. Found the Buddy/Rance clash fascinating – both brilliant players with certain very human flaws to their game going head to head was always going to be great. It got lost in all the hullabaloo that Rance was busily grinding his forearm into Buddy’s jaw when Buddy whacked him in the throat. For the most part I don’t mind the annoying opposition fan (I’m led to believe that I’m no fun to sit in front of) – but whinging about the umpires when they don’t actually know the rules is my pet hate. Swans will be there or there about this September.

  11. Hi Dave
    The interesting thing is that I wasn’t at all caught up in all the hype surrounding Rance and Franklin – before, during, or after the game. Far more interested in the entire team’s effort, which unfortunately wasn’t as good and consistent as Swans people would have liked.

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