Round 19: Tiger prospects look shaky after Sydney shellacking

Mum and I headed off to the footy unusually early, even for our standards. The reason was because we needed to sneak in RMIT’s open day before the footy. I have plans to be there in 2012.

Earlier that day I read an article by Emma Quayle, where she asks where Richmond and North Melbourne will be in 2012. Our team’s best were the likes of Deledio, Cotchin, Tambling and Riewoldt. In my opinion there were a few holes and some players were going to need to improve tremendously by then to hold down key positions.

Two players who won’t be featuring in 2012 are the milestone gamers Michael ‘Magic’ O’loughlin and Ben Cousins. As the banners go up I notice only one club has given their champion the correct welcome. While Sydney have a grand banner sporting a remarkably accurate caricature of Mickey O, Richmond’s depiction of Ben is disgraceful, looking absolutely nothing like him. Richmond can’t do anything right.

Before the ball bounces I notice a man in a 2006 Commonwealth Games jumper, wearing glasses as thick as they come, take a seat in front of us. He pulls out a clipboard holding numerous sheets together, a pair of binoculars and a radio with headphones. As the game commences I find out exactly what they’re for. The man marks down every kick, mark, tackle and any other stat you could think of. Keeping track of the goal scorers in the Record is enough for me. I ask Mum if she thinks he’s working. “I’m pretty sure it’s for fun,” she quietly says. I love my stats and I’m involved in heaps of Super Coach and Dream Team-type games, but this is a little over the top.

The man doesn’t get much to write about early on, as the first quarter is plagued with throw-ins and ball-ups. Cousins and Crouch both score goals from stoppages. Sydney start to get on top after that, as Goodes and Jack both reward the Swan’s effort with goals.

The Swans temporarily lose momentum as the man behind me, equipped with a radio, announces an interchange infringement has been paid against Sydney. You’d think they’d learn from their mistakes. I wish Richmond would. At quarter-time the score stands with Tigers undeservedly only down by a goal. The Tigers that Emma marked as players in 2012 need to step up.

The second term is disgraceful. Sydney has plenty of chances early on to finish them off but don’t. Richmond’s defence is torn apart. Jesse White is too strong for Moore and has  six shots for the quarter. He only manages two goals.

My new friend in front of me is getting very used to marking Sydney’s side of the paper. Goodes is everywhere and teaching Post a real footy lesson. I can only hopes he’ll benefit from it come 2012.

As the third quarter starts Richmond are still right in it. The team that wins will be the team that lifts.

Sydney lift.

The only way Richmond clear the ball is if Cousins does it all by himself. The kids are disgraceful. Guys like White and Hislop have been asking to be dropped to Coburg for weeks now. Unfortunately if we’re planning for 2012 we can’t drop them. Goodes is unstoppable, as usual. Nobody is capable of matching his big body. He won’t trouble Richmond in 2012.

O’Loughlin poetically kicks a goal, making a comeback impossible.

The fourth quarter rolls on. The man behind me believes that there’s more Sydney support than Richmond here. He’s wrong. There are plenty of Tiger fans here, but just like he and I, they’ve succumbed to only half-watching the game.

As Mum and I walk out we go past the Sydney cheer squad. An eruption of cheers breaks out as they thank their hero Mickey O.

The Swans made the most of their opportunities and played in the two greatest finals which I have been lucky enough to attend. If Richmond wish to follow in their footsteps, a lot has to change by 2012.

Richmond 3.3  5.5  7.6  10.8 (68)

Sydney 4.6  9.10  17.10  18.15 (123)

GOALS

Richmond – King 3, Rance, Cousins, Deledio, polo, Morton, White, Vickery

Sydney – Goodes 4, Moore 2, White 2, O’loughlin 2, Kirk, Barlow, J Bolton, McVeigh, O’dwyer, Ablett

BEST

Richmond  – Cousins, Daylight

Sydney – Goodes, O’keefe, Jolly, J Bolton, Kirk, Jack.

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