The Day The Tiger Ate The Cat

As Richmond heads down the highway to take on the might of Geelong, seriously one of the greatest teams of all, I began to reflect on the last successful trip I made down to Kardinia Park. Actually, the only successful trip I’ve made to the Cattery. Funnily enough, it seems fairly recent. You see, the following game between the two clubs saw Geelong scrape home by 157 very lucky points, headed for their drought breaking flag in 2007.

Yet it wasn’t all smooth sailing in Sleepy Hollow leading up to their record breaking premiership. It’s hard to fathom in hindsight, but coach Mark Thompson came within a whisker of losing his job. There still lingered a certain ‘handbag’ tag, a tag that has since been obliterated by players such as Paul Chapman, Joel Sellwood and Max Rooke. Season 2006 saw many questions raised at Geelong, all of which have been answered comprehensively. One of those questions was surely,

“How did Richmond beat us on our own patch?”

What a great day at the football it was. Tightly packed in at the city end of the ground, I actually don’t remember too much of the match. My VCR recording had stuffed up at home, perhaps I programmed for AM rather than PM, so all I have is what I can remember. I recall Chris Hyde playing the game of his life and booting four goals, and I remember that sensational feeling half way through the final quarter as we realised the game was ours.

 

The thing that really stood out to me was the fans. Now Cats fans have since got a taste for victory and aren’t as placid, but at the time, there was no threat whatsoever standing shoulder to shoulder amongst the Geelong faithful. As the fans left early, you got the sense that it was a shame they’d lost, but it was still a nice day out at the footy. To the Richmond fans on the other hand, this was clearly life or death, as we quickly commandeered the Ablett Terrace, making life uncomfortable for the locals.

We sang, we danced and we chanted, individually waving ‘ta-ta’ to every Geelong supporter as they made their way home. I remember the players coming down to acknowledge us fans and nearly choking up. I often have this reaction and am not entirely sure why. We stayed there long after the siren had sounded, revelling in a rare victory on away soil. And Geelong really is ‘away’ when compared with Melbourne’s two mega-stadia. This was our first victory a Kardinia Park since 1990, and who knows when the next will be. This Sunday perhaps?

 Richmond fans live with a ‘famine or feast’ mentality. We enjoy the riches while they’re there for the taking, because you’re never too sure when you’ll eat again. I can’t make it down to Geelong on Sunday, the recently demolished Hickey Stand reducing the capacity making it near impossible for away fans to attend. I’m sure the few Tiger fans down there will still give a good account of themselves. And hopefully cheer on a Richmond victory.

About John Carr

First and foremost, I'm a Richmondite- 5th generation and dyed in the wool. I love the club, but also have a love for the game itself, and love to explore the cultural and social aspects of Australian Rules football. I am married with 4 kids, and also have a love of music, and run a small recording studio http://theholybootsfootballemporium.wordpress.com/

Comments

  1. Skip of Skipton says:

    Had someone five minutes ago asked me when was the last time Richmond won at Kardinia Park, I would have answered 1990.

    Chris Hyde kicking four goals? Yes, it’s starting to burble and seep out. The horror!

    It will be interseting down there this year when a southerly is blowing. The old coin toss will acquire some relevance for a change.

  2. Stainless says:

    John

    I was at that game too and agree entirely with your reflections, particularly about the mood of the crowd.

    I hope the (seemingly endless) redevelopment of the Cattery doesn’t result in it becoming just another bland, modern stadium, although I guess if it reduces the home ground advantage, that would be a positive.

    It would be fantastic if the Tiges could replicate the 2006 result on Sunday, but I fancy they’ll encounter a pretty angry Geelong side if the demeanour of their coach is anything to go by. I’d say the $1.16 about the Cats is pretty good value.

  3. Yes, Mothers Day 1990, was it Geelong 9-28 , Richmond 13-18? G. Ablett was out injured , Bews did his knee that day, not a good day @ the office for Geelong. The Tigers had a good run @ Kardinia Park for a while, winning there in 1971, 1972, 1975,, 1977, then 1982. To my recollection the Geelong home games in 1973, 1974, and 1977 were @ VFL Park, all wins for Richmond, so the Tigers had no fears of away games versus Geelong. Can’t recall 1978, and 1979 ; can someone jog my memory? Of course it would be remiss not to mention 1967, was it 18-18 to 15-5? This weekend, may the best side win .

    Glen!

  4. Skip of Skipton says:

    Glen,

    Round 4 ’78: Geelong by 27 points at K-Park. Donohue 8 goals, Monteath 7.

    Round 21 ’79: Geelong by 26 points at K-Park. Sarah(Geelong)* 6 goals, Roach 6.

    *Paul Sarah joined Richmond for round 3 1980, having played for Geelong in rounds 1 and 2 that year.

  5. Ta Skip. How was 1980? Was there a match in 1980, now as i type, and think, i say no. Richmond won the early encounter @ VFL Park, Geelog returned the compliment @ the G. Now, in 1981, it was a tight match, 12-18 point margin to Geelong, i think. No hang on , was it Geelong 12-10, Richmond 8.4? Richmond won by 2 points in 1982, Toohey kicking 6, or 7 for Geelong. Some of my memories are as clear as day, others have gone through to the keeper.

    Glen!

  6. Cats finished on top of the ladder in 1980 and went out in straight sets.

    That was the year my Tiger supporting brother started doing the old knife running across his stomach bit and saying ‘you’ve got a scar’ every time he saw me.

    He does’nt say it anymore.

  7. Skip of Skipton says:

    I think KB was reported for the only time in his career at K-Park in ’82. Was it a Nankervis he struck?

  8. Yes the Cats went in straight sets. Kevin Bartlett kicked 8 in the Second Semi, then Geelong lost the preliminary to the Pies by 4 points. in the first quarter of the preliminary, Ian Nankervis marked in the back pocket, then Ray Shaw snatched it from him, and was paid the mark leading to a goal. i’m pretty sure Peter Johnston was not pais a mark in the final term for Geelong, but knowing his propensity to miss set shots from close in one shouldn’t read too much into it. Anyhow the Grand Final saw Richmond get their 5th flag in 13 years, and as they say, the rest is history

  9. Still got the 1990 match on VHS. Yep, Bews did a knee or ankle late, and Geelongs inaccuracy was certainly a gift. The surrounding Richmond v Geelong results were littered with multiple double figure goal tallies to G.Ablett, so his omission was a God-send.
    But none the less, it was a win over the previous years grand finalist, Justin Pickering and McKeller playing sterling matches from defence, Des Ryan and Jeff Hogg down forward and Tim Powell, Trent Nicholls and Matty Knights playing shining in the midfield. It was also Trevor Pooles first game against his former club. Oh and Michael Mitchell played a great game on a half forward flank.

    It seems i remember more of 1990 than 2006. Guess i’ve nearly worn the old tape out over the years.

    Certainly a tough task for Richmond this Sunday.

  10. Sure is Glen.

    I played in the first of three in a row flags for the Old Scotch Reserves in 1980. I think the Cats went on to win either two or three reserves flags in a row in the next few years.

    I was that desperate I would take anything.

    An interesting point regarding the prelim on telly. We didn’t get it live but I had a friend who worked at the local station. We went in and watched it in her office.

    When the players ran out onto the ground it obviously wasn’t switched live anywhere. I nearly choked on my beer when the Pies ran onto the ground and Lou Richards clearly said “look at the size of thet fuck’n banner”

    Peake was disappointing if I remember.

  11. Peake arrived in a blaze of glory. Helicopter, 100 point victory over N Melbourne @ Kardinia Park, but from there he became, what Jack Dyer might have described as, a good, average player. Captained Geelong for a while, but @ the end of 1984, after 3, 1/2 seasons, he was gone. The Cats put a lot of effort into getting him, and also Stephen MIchael, from WA. Michael never came over, Peake did but failed to live up to his high expectations.

    Skip, that was Bartletts only report. Was it Bruce he hit ?

    Glen!

  12. Glen,

    remember when the Cats were interested in Phil and / or Jimmy and had The Big Cat doing a bit of behind the scenes stuff (that didn’t work) over in the West.

    The headline in the Sun was “Polly Wants a Krakouer”

  13. Stainless says:

    Glen

    1982 – I’m pretty sure it was Bruce N. that KB was reported for. I was at that game too and recall that the Tigers were comfortably ahead until Geelong switched Toohey into the forward line and he started marking everything in sight. The ball was heading in his direction again when the siren went with us 2 points ahead. Geelong hardly won a game after than for the rest of the year.

    The 1980 game at Waverley will be the subject of the Round 6 report of my 1980 review in a couple of weeks.

  14. Haje Halabi says:

    continue to believe John- I do- although it has caused me a mental illness! lets feast again tigers…..

  15. Interestingly Glen, Mothers Day the following year saw us topple reigning premier Collingwood by ten goals, the same tally that Jeff Hogg ended with. Richmond people refer to this as the Mothers Day Massacre…however it is long forgotten by Collingwood fans. So there u have it, Richmond were the Mothers Day Giant Killers of the early 90’s, there’s no dispute!

  16. Richard Naco says:

    Lovely memories, JC, and I hope you enjoy the game regardless of the result.

    The oblique reference to Geelong fans being hostile surprised me. Every time I go to a Cats’ game I find the opposition spectators commenting to me that they enjoy Geelong games, because among other things, Catters are seen to be the least confrontational of enemy supporters.

  17. Hey Richard, thanks.
    I agree that Geelong fans are fairly docile as it goes, yet have just noticed a slight edge these last few years. But they’re still no Carlton/Collingwood/Essendon/Richmond or even Hawthorn.

  18. Skip of Skipton says:

    John and Richard,

    If I may give my two-bobs worth, having lived in Geelong for 25 years of my life (13-38).

    Yes John, ‘placid’ and ‘no threat’ sum it up. Yes Richard, ‘least confrontational’ is correct.

    What people need to understand is that Geelong is not a suburb of Melbourne. It might not look that far on the map, but psycholigally or mentally it is probably closer to Kalgoorlie or Mt.Gambier. The Melbourne mindset doesn’t translate.

    A Collingwood supporter, Carlton, St.Kilda, Richmond, Hawthorn, Footscray, Melbourne, North, Essendon etc and all their nuances is totally unrecognisable and not considered by Geelong folk. You’re all just Melbournites! And strange.

  19. And Melbourne is an illegitimate child of Launceston Skip – settled by the dodgy John Batman when escaping the King’s law.

    You can imagine how we Tasmanians regard the yahoos on the Yarra.

  20. Skip of Skipton says:

    A lot of undesirables got into Australia through Tasmania back in the day, Phantom.

  21. Bartel was the difference. Thats all :)

  22. John C, do you/who do the Tigers play Mothers day 2012 ?

    Glen!

  23. James Grapsas says:

    John – although it was a bad loss for Geelong in the 1990 game at KP, I would be interested in doing a trade of footage with you to get hold of a copy of that match. The only footage I can recall is Bews colliding with Greg Hamilton in the dying minutes and doing his knee. I will need to check whether there is a personal message facility on this site …

    Regarding the round 9, 2006 game, I have negative memories of this game, but full credit to Richmond for sticking at it. I clearly recall a feeling of powerlessness in the last quarter when our ineptitude and indirect football at the time came to the fore, Geelong kicking nine behinds, zero goals and the game slipping away. It was weird seeing Carlton legend Wayne Johnston as the Richmond runner, smiling as he made his way back to the bench with the result assured with a few minutes left.

    About the only positive of this galling loss from a Geelong perspective was the debut of Mathew Stokes.

  24. Hey Glen, just checked and the Tigers boys get to spend Mothers Day with their mums as we play on the Saturday. My eyes would have lit up had we been taking on a top 4 side, but perhaps it was a KB coaching speciality.

    Hi James, more than happy to trade footage, it might inspire me to continue digitising my backlogue of footy vids. Feel free to email me john@cherrystone.com.au to work it out. May be a couple of weeks or so.

    I remember the name Sterret from the coverage, and that Flanagan rucked, Trevor Poole kicked a couple of great goals and Brownless was half the man he is today. It’s most of the 3rd and 4th Q.

    As for 2006, the following 157 point drubbing kind of pales that into insignificance, but it was a great day at the footy. Geelong needed the year 2006 to work through adversity, may have been the making of the Cat dynasty.

    And gnarley….poise when it mattered. Ricmond lacked it, Geelong’s leaders showed it. Other than that a fairly even contest. Marlon Motlop was very impressive…took the game on for Geelong when nothing was happening for them.

  25. James Grapsas says:

    Many thanks John – will be in touch.

  26. @Glen – You’d probably remember that Lou Richards gave Peake the nickname “Pasties”.

    I’ve long been intrigued by the lack of vocal involvement shown by the majority of Geelong supporters. We are as passionate as any supporter, but seem to internalise it during a game.

    One particular memory was of a game at KP against Brisbane in 1989. We were going for our second 100+ point win in a row and it was surreal; deathly silent; 30,000 people in a small space and you could hear a pin drop. Never experienced anything like it before or since.

  27. Shock, Pete!

  28. No Pete, i’d forgotten. Goodness, how old would Louie be?

    Glen!

  29. Cookie says:

    I was at that game, sitting near the cheer squad who we’re giving it to Richo . Richo started giving it back in a very understated and funny manner when the Tigers got on top. Great stuff

  30. Cookie, which game was that ?

    Glen!

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