Round 4 – Richmond v Melbourne: Tigers go for youth, but pay the price

by Michael Allan

At the start of the year I knew we wouldn’t win many games. I knew that every week would be a challenge and we’d see our fair share of thrashings. However I did think at then start of the year that we would go in favourites against our ladder next door neighbour Melbourne.

Three games in and I’ve already re-assessed how bad we are. To make matters worse, all players who could get a game in a team other than Richmond have found a reason to miss out on today’s clash. Foley’s still injured, Newman has some sort of hamstring tightness, Thursfield is still marked as injured for no apparent reason and we all know about Cousins, McGuane, Polo and Connors. And to top it all off Melbourne actually won last week!

Meeting up with fellow Almanacker Adam Bulman before the game we take a look at the new recruits. Virtually nothing is known about David Astbury and Matt Dea while Troy Taylor seems to be more famous in court than in the football world.

Richmond start the match very well. The intensity seems seems to be there as Riewoldt kicks the first of the arvo and Tambling kicks a nice goal with the outside of the boot. Richmond continue to take the game on, Astbury showing potential with two goals but unfortunately the one man defence of Kelvin Moore isn’t enough for the Melbourne attack as Petterd, Green and Bate all start chipping in with goals. McDonald is carving up the midfield which gives Melbourne a two goal buffer. Ricky Petterd with a Wayne Harmes’ style tap to a Bate in the goal square gives Melbourne a seventeen point lead at quarter time.

The second term is frustrating to watch. Richmond appear to be the dominant team but give Melbourne plenty of chances; luckily they miss all opportunities for goal. The MCC section of the ground is getting unusually noisy as free kicks seem to be going Richmond’s way. Nason keeps on improving with a goal but Jack Riewoldt still can’t shake his set-shot yips. Morton kicks a brilliant goal with his trusty right foot snap to put us only a goal down at the main break.

An unusual sense of confidence is creeping in. We kept Melbourne goalless and look to be the more potent team. I ask Adam if he thinks we’ll win. Like most of us the lack of faith in Richmond has consumed him as he answers “Don’t ask me that.”

The third quarter showed that our competitiveness was too good to be true. The fade out was striking. Just like weeks previously, Richmond look woeful. Defensive pressure is gone and Melbourne run riot. Melbourne don’t seem to be particularly good but Richmond look particularly bad. Green, Sylvia and even Bail started carving us up.

At three quarter time there’s no need to ask Adam the half time question. It’s clear Melbourne have this game sealed and now we’re just playing the four quarters out.

But how does this happen? How can a team look to be better than the other at half time, then be totally out of it one quarter later? Who’s to blame? Poor coaching? No, the tactics didn’t change at all. Lack of leadership? Maybe, but Cotchin seemed to be going okay and surely that wouldn’t have such a drastic effect. The only answer I can come up with is a simple one. We are the youngest team in the competition, it’s what we do.

Playing so many players so early in their career is always going to lead to patches of inexcusable footy. They’re not conditioned to keep up with the speed of AFL for four quarters. Hardwick surely knew this when he started this youth policy, and seems determined to see ride the bumps and see it through. It’s the only way for Richmond to go.

In the fourth, Astbury and Taylor show the benefiets of playing youngsters kicking a goal each for the term. Asbury’s a beauty from the boundary, a dead straight drop punt. Could we finally have found a forward who can kick straight? Or am I being too ambitious?

In any case we still go down by 55 points. Melbourne deserve the win and guys like Sylvia and Scully should give Demon fans a lot to be happy about leaving the ground today. They may still have a few more wins coming up this season. For Richmond’s sake I hope it’s more than five.

Richmond 5.2 7.7 7.9 11.12 (78)
Melbourne 8.1 8.7 15.11 20.13 (133)

GOALS
Richmond Astbury 3, Riewoldt 3, Morton, Tambling, Nason, Tuck, Taylor
Melbourne Sylvia 5, Green 4, Bate 3, Bail 2, Petterd 2, Bartram, Dunn, Jamar, McDonald

BEST
Richmond Moore, Deledio, Riewoldt, Cotchin
Melbourne Moloney, Sylvia, Scully, McDonald, Green

Comments

  1. Steve Healy says:

    well written M.Allan, it was sad to see the Tigers lose.

    Actually, no it wasn’t

  2. Danielle says:

    i think we all know what i need to say about this…
    ILY MIKEYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!
    :p lol

    Great work Allan, next time write more about Tin-Tin!!

  3. Good work Mike, I’m amazed you didn’t mention that drunk Dees supporter a few rows behind us, he was hilarious!

  4. Danielle says:

    3- i didn’t know Steve drank!!!

  5. Michael Allan says:

    2 – thanks Danni, I love mentioning Dusty but he wasnt that great on the weekend. ily. lol

    3 – I knew I was forgetting something! I told myself I’d mention him on the train home but i just forgot. Oh well.

Leave a Comment

*