The Way It Should Be Played

Year 11 was definitely getting to me. The increased workload, the longer hours (it seems longer anyway), and the increasingly colder mornings had been working against me for a while now. Free dress days always put a spring in my step though. I don’t know why, I guess it makes us students feel more human instead of robotic pupils.

School was boring though, Friday’s have the worst classes. The only real highlight was catching a mouse in the kitchen in period 2 and ‘releasing him outside’. As the bell went to signal the end of another day, I felt relived. The footy was on again, AFL and country leagues. Just five more days until the holidays.

Back on the safety of my bed, locked away in my room, the coverage of ‘The Riewoldt Show’ began. I thought a full house at Etihad Stadium would’ve suited these two teams, which would’ve made a better spectacle of the two full forwards. But I was looking forward to watching these two sides go at it under the bright lights of the MCG. It wasn’t long before Stephen Milne had marked and kicked the first goal of the game. St Kilda were impressing me with their precise field kicking, and it was Brendon Goddard who took a huge risk by flying into a pack, effectively spoiling Nick Riewoldt’s jump at the ball, but it ended in an open goal for the Saints’ champion. Goddard burst into another pack, with Milne picking up the crumbs and snapping his second goal, and St Kilda were 19 points in front. The old St Kilda-Richmond floggings seemed to be back in fashion, and things looked even worse for the Tigers when Jack Riewoldt flew for a huge mark, but ruffled his hair with a big whack on his head as he came down. He was dazed and confused, and the same thought pulsated through everyone watching the game. He was clearly concussed, and under the new rules, that was the end of the night for him. He struggled to his feet, and got off the field with a lot of help from the trainers. Trent Cotchin eased the pain slightly with a clever goal from a congested pack, before Geelong-discard Ryan Gamble marked one-on-one with Dan Connors before converting. The heavily criticised Tyrone Vickery, who does have some serious skills in fact, goaled from a free kick, which saw Richmond trail by just 14 points at quarter time. Jack crawled back up the race, observing the situation. He needed to be back out there. Richmond wouldn’t win without him. He knew that. Everyone knew that.

Jack was up and about though. He looked fine, a little bit delirious, but good to go. The doctors didn’t think so. He was sent back into the rooms for a concussion test. And another, and another. He resurfaced again and again. He wasn’t getting any closer to getting on the field. Richmond played keepings off in the goalsquare as St Kilda danced around trying to snatch the ball back, but Dustin Martin slammed it through to cut the margin to eight points. Mitch Morton did what he does best with a snap goal from the boundary after a free kick, and Jack was clearly agitated at the doctors who wouldn’t let him back on the field. If this was last year, under the old concussion rules, Jack would’ve taken three speckies by now. Richmond were within two points. Jack was flying off the handle on the boundary line, and as this Riewoldt hit a major low, the other got on the end of a pass to kick his first goal. Jack was subbed, Nick had put the Saints further ahead. But they came again, through youngster Brad Helbig, the substitute. I was surprised the umpire knew Helbig’s name as he called him for a free kick. The second gamer roosted a huge ball from outside 50 for a long goal, before Jake King kicked a goal, letting David Armitage know that the Tigers were in front, amazingly. Jack sulked at the back of the interchange bench as Martin converted after the good work of Shane Edwards and Bachar Houli through the midfield, but back to back goals to Farren Ray and Armitage saw Nick’s side back in the lead. Not for long however, as King floated a helicopter-looking kick forward for an unconventional goal, then Edwards got onto the end of a high Dan Jackson banana, marking and goaling. Richmond had stolen the show, they led by seven points. Surely this wasn’t happening.

After a half time segment on the two Riewoldt cousins, things went a different way for both of them. Jack started encouraging his teammates, while Nick was getting frustrated at the lack of delivery. Milne roved Ben McEvoy’s tap to kick his third from point blank range, but it was the link from defence to Vickery’s hands in the goalsquare that really made everyone sit up and notice how good this young Richmond side is. The tackles were fierce, you could almost hear the hand-on-arm slap effect it was making everytime a player ran into trouble. McEvoy took a big pack mark on the forward flank, and showed his poise by splitting the middle from 50m out, just in from the white line. Low-scoring quarter, but it remained: Richmond were in front. Surely this couldn’t go on, the loss of a power forward has got to catch up with them eventually.

In a stupid move, I decided to check my Facebook on my phone as the ads flicked by on the TV. The first thing I saw was the final result of the game. DAMMIT! Never again will I try and balance my social networking site with football. I was still looking forward to the final quarter though. Brett Deledio landed a long goal after St Kilda missed two early chances, before Goddard dropped a crucial mark in the goalsquare. Luckily, Riewoldt was right there to steal the ball away and boot his second. The tackles became even more frequent, while the opportunist goalkickers came to the fore. Martin crumbed a pack and snapped his third goal. Even though I knew the result, I couldn’t believe Richmond were beating St Kilda, without their key forward! Go Richmond! You can win! Luke McGuane was penalised harshly but fairly after he rushed a behind 10m out from the defensive goalposts. Riewoldt took the kick, perfectly snapping the ball through for his third, then Milne had his fourth before you could blink after a lightning quick clearance. St Kilda by six points! No! It was frantic all over the ground, but it reached fever pitch in Richmond’s forward half. Shaun Grigg ended up with the extremely hot footy on the forward flank, but just booted it high and long to the goalsquare. Not a bad idea, and it definitely reaped the awards as it drew scores level. He then went forward again but missed a crucial shot at goal as the rain poured down on the MCG. Gamble showed his poise with a silky handball to Goddard in the midfield, who ran and booted it long inside a vacant forward line. Jason Blake was running back, he got the ball, fumbled, but got it to his boot, goal! Saints back in front, again. The young Tigers side wasn’t done with yet though. Jack watched on from the dug-out in his red vest as King ran for his life past the wing, bombing it long. The pack flew, the ball came down, it spilled to Jackson, the line of players in front of him fell away, he had a clear opening. He put it on the boot, and kicked an easy goal. The crowd went into a Tiger frenzy! Under 2 minutes left, Richmond by two points. First gamer Daniel Archer marked and his kicked faded to the right, before Milne marked the ball 30m from goal on no angle. One point in it, under a minute to go. Milne had 4.6 to his name. He didn’t kick his fifth goal, and AFL had its second draw in six days.

That’s how footy should be played all the time.

St Kilda 4.6—7.10—9.12—13.17.95

Richmond 2.4—9.5—10.9—14.11.95

Goalkickers:

St Kilda-Milne 4, Riewoldt 3, McEvoy, Blake, Ray, Armitage, Gamble, Goddard

Richmond-Martin 3, King 2, Vickery 2, Jackson, Deledio, Grigg, Helbig, Morton, Edwards, Cotchin

Best:

St Kilda-Armitage, Milne, Dal Santo, Montagna, McEvoy

Richmond-Grigg, Deledio, Martin, Newman, King, White, Vickery

Crowd:

41,465 at the MCG

Votes:

3: Shaun Grigg (RICH)

2: Brett Deledio (RICH)

1: David Armitage (STK)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.

Comments

  1. Michael V says:

    Ever since the ‘rushed behind’ rule was instituded by that nutty professor, KB, I’ve said that the rule itself doesn’t make any sense. 

    ‘You can’t deliberately rush a behind unless you’re under pressure’ –
    1) Players only ever commit deliberate actions. If not, they wouldn’t be there.
    2) Players are always under pressure. It’s a football game, for goodness sake!

    The umpire’s board have said the McGuane decision was a mistake. Even so, some experts on the radio were still saying it was a fair decision. Neither the umpires, nor the players, nor the spectators seem to really know what the rule is. It is illogical and it perhaps cost Richmond the game.

    I predict that confusion over this rule will grow rather than lessen as the season progresses.

    – This is my solution to the problem. The umpire was heard on the effects microphone to say that he was ‘too far out’ to legally rush a behind. All we need to do is designate a set distance, perhaps ten or 15 metres from the goal mouth from which it is legal to rush behinds (and also none straight from marks or kick-ins). They could even draw something on the ground if they wanted. 

  2. Steve Healy says:

    Very good report Josh, yes, NEVER EVER check facebook while watching a delayed telecast. As i’ve said before, I thought the McGuane decision was completely fair, great that the umpire penalised that one because McGuane was a fair way out from goal, not under That much pressure, he was just having his jumper softly grabbed, and certainly couldve doen something else.

    I think It’s clear that the sub rule is making games a lot closer as it comes down to the death. Jeez, if only Clinton Jones got a cleaner foot on the ball in the last 10 seconds…but seriously, i cant beleive we have seen two draws in the first 2 rounds.

    And Milne shouldve been in your votes

  3. John Butler says:

    Steve, I agree on Milne. Not sure about the McGuane decision.

    Nice work Josh. But try and cheer up about school will you. :)

  4. Damian Watson says:

    You should be watching justin.tv Josh, you never have to worry about a delayed telecast again ;).

    Just keep persisting with school, trust me you will eventually adapt to the increased workload.

  5. Michael V says:

    @Steve Healy,
    Do you understand why the umpire’s director said the McGuane decision was a mistake?

  6. Steve Healy says:

    Michael V, if the McGuane rushed behind isn’t deliberate, then what is?

    And by the way Josh, I agree with you that the game should’ve been played at Etihad. St.Kilda hadnt played a home game at the G for 5 years, and the last was also against the Tigers.

  7. Danielle says:

    Joshers, Yr 11 is a cakewalk compared to uni.. -_-
    keep up the work though!

  8. Michael V says:

    @Steve Healy,
    Yes, McGuane’s action was deliberate. Players actions are usually deliberate, or else coaches wouldn’t send them out there. You don’t win games with unintended actions.

    Sadly, if you think the umpire’s decision was a good one, you won’t be seeing it again in future. For the umpire’s director has declared after the match that this call was an umpiring error.

    Hence the confusion.

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