Ever since the Tigers gave not even a whimper as Essendon did a Miley Cyrus and sent a wrecking ball through Punt Rd, I’ve put a self-imposed ban from Richmond and the Footy Almanac. It was best, I reckoned, to leave the competition alone for a bit. Then the year offered up even more embarrassment. If we could find a new way to lose, that’s how we would lose next week. Folding like a deck of cards in a half of footy after playing an hour of brilliance against the Roos. Managing a comeback against the Dockers to get 14 points behind close to the end before deciding to fold again. Killing the Swans in another wonderful half before kicking just a goal in the second half to lose the match by 11.
I’m not going to mention the Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and Geelong games at all. The only game that I’ve been to this year was the one against the Dees. The days woes culminated in my favourite player dislocating his knee right in front of me. That was a less-than-enjoyable experience for both me and David Astbury. The latter probably has the bragging rights over me in less-than-enjoyable experiences.
It does seem a little odd to see the Tigers back to the bottom. I watch games involving GWS, Carlton, St Kilda, Brisbane and yes, even Melbourne and I can’t help thinking “We could beat them pretty easily.” Then I’d look at the ladder and realise that 3 of those teams are ahead of us. It doesn’t really make sense in my head.
Dad likes to say that this year is a blip, before reconsidering and saying it may be a bit of a ditch. After several rounds of reconsidering, we agree that this is Richmond’s “Gap Year”. A year to get games into lesser known players and to get our game plan into action. A year to vomit money all over Paddy Dangerfield or a similar midfielder who fits into the insane talent end of the skill scale and get the guy into a yellow and black jersey. Then we can win us a premiership or twelve.
Every critic and his dog have blasted the Tigers at one stage this year. I have, which is odd because 1) I am a Richmond fan and 2) I don’t own a dog. The reasons are endless; gameplan, undisciplined players, the coach, recruiters etc. It’s like a raffle of reasons why we haven’t done much this year. This raffle is pretty easy to win.
My personality has changed throughout the season. I was slightly incredulous for a while, then still a believer in the Tigers, then I was upset and embarrassed and then I just left AFL behind for a bit. One thing that seems interesting for me, though, not once have I actually felt that this…..errrrr…..ditch will last for more than just this year. It seems a little like 2010 was for the Eagles. They finished last, then in 2011 finished 4th. The way we are playing has positives. We play maybe a half of scintillating footy where we look like we could take on any team in the competition and beat them with ease.
So no, the Tigers aren’t completely stuffed. They’re partly stuffed. All shall be revealed on how we play against St Kilda on Saturday.