Round One: Richmond v Carlton

The simple yet appropriate words of ‘Can’t Wait’ is the motto for the AFL’s promotional video in the lead-up to this season. Like many avid footy fans around the country, I circled the date March 25th in my calendar as the Tigers are set to clash with the mighty Blues in the season opener.

It’s fair to mention that it has been a summer of discontent for the Blues and in the three week absence of our key midfielder Chris Judd, and the sacking of forward Brendan Fevola, we have looked vulnerable over the pre-Season. There has been a sense of anticipation as to how the Blues can compensate for these losses over summer as I cling onto the hope that possibly Henderson, O’hAilpin or Kreuzer can stand up and make a pivotal presence this year.

The men from Punt Road have had a fair contrast in expectations over the past 12 months. This time last year the Richmond supporters believed their invincible Messiah in Ben Cousins had arrived… before tearing his hamstring and from that point onwards their season came crashing downhill like an unexpected avalanche. However in 2010, with new coach Damien Hardwick at the helm presenting a new ethos and structure at the club, a new era could be imminent.

It is another balmy night as my Dad and I cruise along the Eastern Freeway. I enjoy the rare occurrence of driving to the footy as it signifies a walk through the inner suburbs en route to the overwhelming sight of a floodlit MCG. I join the vast number of fans walking through the spacious gardens within the historic suburb of East Melbourne as the old houses and alleyways serve as a backdrop. Eventually we reach the ground and purchase the Record, which have increased their price to $5!! Our reserved seats are sensational, only a few rows from ground level overlooking the wing on the Great Southern Stand side.

The atmosphere around the ground is palpable as 70 000 fans bade farewell to Matthew Richardson with one last lap of honour. Many of the Tiger faithful are emotional as the cry “Richo’ is heard for the final time on the hallowed MCG, even as a Carlton supporter I can’t help but applaud as he circumnavigates around the ground.

Finally the moment has arrived, the first bounce kicks off season 2010, the talented Carlton midfield clicks into gear as they gain the first centre clearance. For the second successive year Jarrad Waite opens the Home and Away Season with a major. Already the signs are ominous, the Blues are linking up perfectly as they make the transition forward while also  using the switch effectively. The Carlton forward line also had a point to prove converting five consecutive goals as Henderson and O’hAilpin showed promising signs leading up the ground and contributing to the tally. Just as the Blues appear to be emulating the 83 point massacre from 12 months ago, the Tigers gained a little more composure and confidence as pivotal players Riewoldt, Morton and Deledio provided valiant efforts in the forward half and the Yellow and Black are only a mere 17 points behind at the first change.

Following the break the little crumbers Eddie Betts and Chris Yarran use their pace and judgment to advantage finding space to post 6 goals between them as the Blues held a cruisy 6 goal lead. Midfielders in Carazzo, Murphy and Simpson underline their maturity by showing aggression as well as racking up the disposals. Just as I was pondering whether to wear the Carlton gear to school the following day the Tigers managed to claw their way, albeit unconvincingly as a Mitch Morton goal signifies a 19 point Richmond deficit at the main interval.

An acceptable word to summarise the third term or indeed the second half would be DULL. Both sides made unnecessary skill errors and the Tigers failed to show any cohesion and polish to display any attacks. The old man wanted to doze off and only a Trent Cotchin hanger provided any excitement as the Blues kept the Tigers on the canvas with a 5 goal lead at ¾ Time.

However the memory of last year’s capitulation in the final term against Brisbane still lingers and I remain skeptical as to whether we can hold on. Bryce Gibbs gives me no cause to worry, converting a set shot to cap off an admirable night in the centre. At this stage the Richmond side appear to have put the cue in the rat as their intensity and desperation dropped significantly. The Blues take the opportunity to rub salt into the wound and add handy percentage with a 56 point victory.

Along with the quality in the midfield and up forward for the Blueboys, the defence was just as impressive. Bret Thornton and Michael Jamieson extinguished many Richmond attacks and Jordan Russell continued his good form providing run off the half back line.

As I head off into the car with the scarf hanging out the window I reflect on our victory. Call me cynical but I still believe a Finals spot is beyond our reach, although we did prove that the four points can be won without our skipper and former dual Coleman medallist.

And yes, I arrived at school the following day donning my Carlton scarf and hat, after all we are holding top position on the ladder!

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

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

My Votes: 3. A.Carazzo    2. M.Murphy    1. E.Betts

About Damian Watson

Hey,my name is Damian Watson and I am 14 years old. My ambition is to become an AFL broadcaster/journalist in the future. I am a keen blues supporter and I live in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. I play and write for the Knox Falcons U/16's.

Comments

  1. Great report Damo, it was a shame that the tiges didn’t keep up with your blueboys, I was pretty disappointed to be honest.

  2. Danielle says:

    lmao Damo!
    top position on the ladder ey?
    Good job by ur boys i was impressed by Duckie the most, hes built himself up, nice strong body and more IMPORTANTLY HIS HAIR LOOKS CENTIMETER PERFECT!!
    :)

  3. Great stuff Damo, about time the AFL started eh?

    I’m afraid the top spot on the ladder will be occupied by Hawthorn fairly soon..

  4. Don’t forget Richmond are holding 2nd position.

  5. Actually after last night they’re 4th.

  6. 5: Stop the AFL Season now! Haha

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