I started watching the Richmond and Collingwood match with the intention of writing an article about it. I had no idea what the angle would be, but I was determined to find one. I didn’t have long to wait. Richmond’s early dismal play led to some great comments from the crowd.
“Where’s Rance? He’s not on Cloke! Who’s that on Cloke? Todd who?”
Spectators spent a panicked 10 seconds searching for Rance, usually noticeable with his tan and long skins under his shorts. Then we found him in the centre square on Dane Swan. And all hell broke loose. Dimma’s early move threw everyone, including Cloke. So much so that he regained his long-lost goal-kicking accuracy within two minutes. Flimsy Footy Record pages were ripped in the haste to discover just who no. 43 was. Todd Elton, in for his second game ever, playing on Travis Cloke. Elton’s big for a second-gamer, but Cloke was bigger.
“CHEWY ON YOUR BOOT!”
The favourite go-to of my next-door neighbour in the Richmond members. I think it’s a result of years of desperation. It got a fair work out in that first quarter.
“Where’s Rance now?”
“He’s playing loose-”
“They’re all playing loose!”
The classic Richmond coping mechanism. When spirits drop on the ground, the humour comes out.
“FOR GOD’S SAKE, KICK THE F*CKING BALL!”
Also a Richmond classic.
“Seven years I’ve been watching this crap!”
I was initially confused at this one. I may be relatively young, but I feel like I’ve been “watching this crap” (read stagnant, backward footy) for a lot longer than seven years. And then I realised that it was seven years since we’d beaten Collingwood. To be honest, I thought it was longer.
Again, all hell broke loose. But, thankfully for my fellow supporters and me (apparently that’s the correct grammar; I was told in my journalism lecture), it was the good kind. The kind we haven’t seen for a very long time.
“And that -” *points* – “is why Morris should never be let out of the back pocket.”
Steve Morris marked 30m out, on a slight angle. At this stage, only Grigg had kicked a second quarter goal, so we were all still pretty anxious. And Morris played on, it nearly got turned over, but luckily Kamdyn McIntosh (what a name!) showed some pretty fancy finishing skills, kicking it from an even tighter angle, virtually on the boundary line.
“See what happens when you run?”
I can’t remember what goal this was in reference to – when you kick eight goals in one quarter they all merge into one.
This one was a collective quote – “yes, yes, yes, NO NO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO!”
Unbeknownst to us, the umpire had called touched on a ball that Liam “The String” McBean had marked. He played on, and in a similar mess to the McIntosh goal, the ball eventually ended up with Brandon Ellis who finished it off perfectly, completely oblivious to the heart attack we had just suffered.
Spiritual leader Ivan Maric kicks a goal. When Ivvy’s kicking goals, everyone gets excited. Especially him. His celebrations are a sight to behold.
“Start your run like last year!” “Hit them with a blitz!”
My fellow supporters were getting pretty excited at this point. Five goals in nine minutes will do that to you, especially when we had almost topped last week’s final score halfway through the second.
“Oh no, you go for it, after you lads!”
All of a sudden the pressure valve was released by the Tigers, and Collingwood started getting on top. They were first to the ball, and Jamie Elliot (a small forward, our Achilles heel of the last 10 years), kicked an excellent goal.
(To be read in a crescendo) – “Jack, Jaaack, JAAAACKK!”
“Atta boy Jack!”
“Jack the Magpie killer!”
Jack Riewoldt, previously unsighted aside from his brief and ill-fated start in the middle, kicked two goals in what seemed to be two minutes. The second was a ripper banana from the boundary line. We rose as one.
“If Ty’s kicking goals like that, anything could happen.”
“No cheap goals.”
If Richmond’s biggest weakness is their inability to control small forwards (or produce one of their own now I mention it), their second biggest is conceding goals in the last two minutes of quarters. It’s so regular you can almost set your clock to it. Almost. This time they didn’t.
“He’s the best thing to come out of Carlton.”
Shaun Grigg kicked the opening goal of the third quarter, and we started to believe.
“He’s such a better footballer when he leads like that”
Jack Riewoldt. Lead. Jump. Mark. Goal. Suddenly we’d kicked the first two of the third quarter, and were out to a four-goal lead.
“Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers!”
“Pick them up!”
Collingwood lifted their game in the third quarter, and their relentless pressure, run and spread left the Tigers choking. The natives were getting restless.
“KICK IT!” (player handballs) “Oh, good work!”
Richmond’s daring kept them in touch with Collingwood at three-quarter time. The fans thought they knew better, but as usual, the players proved otherwise.
(and my favourite) “COTCH!”
I have no notes from the fourth quarter for two reasons. Firstly, the crowd was reduced to a babbling wreck, only capable of producing noises. Trent Cotchin produced one of his most influential quarters of his career, right when his team needed it. When he runs in that hunched over, Ablett/Judd-like way, you know he’s on song. He evades like Pendlebury, bursts through packs like Dangerfield, runs like Fyfe and marks like Bartel.
“You said that two minutes ago!”
The second reason I had no notes is that I was very close to throwing up with nerves. When Jack Riewoldt kicked the Tigers’ final goal, there was still an excruciating four minutes left – but I had to look that up post-match; at the time, no one had a clue how long we had left. It didn’t stop everyone putting their guess in the ring, adding to the general hysteria.
And the roar when the siren went was one of pure relief.