1980 A Personal Footy Almanac – Round 10, Saturday 31 May, v North Melbourne, MCG

In 1980, Ron Barassi was still the biggest name in football.

Looking back three decades, it’s easy to snigger at the temper tantrums and the wide lapels and see the caricature rather than the substance of the man.

However, without doubt, Barassi had the single greatest influence in changing the way football was played during the 1970s. His role in the 1970 Grand Final is the stuff of folklore, although Barassi himself downplays it. But there’s no question that his fast, talented, well-drilled North Melbourne sides established a new paradigm, manifested in rapid ball movement, especially by hand, more frequent playing-on, and creating the loose man rather than relying on winning one-on-one contests. The couple of times I saw North play in 1979, I was gobsmacked by their speed and efficient ball use. Compared with Richmond and several other teams I watched that year, they appeared to be playing a different game. Someone, possibly the Couldabeen Champions, coined that beautiful phrase to describe this phenomenon – “they played with Barassity”!

Richmond’s Round 10 opponent is Barassi’s North, second on the ladder. For the second time in three weeks, we’ve scored the match of the season at the “G”. The bumper crowds just keep rolling in. Today, it’s just shy of 62,000, a record for Richmond-North games in the regular season and only bettered by the 1974 Grand Final attendance. The continuing run of beautiful autumn weather doesn’t hurt either, with another cloudless day setting a finals-like scene.

As I look along the row I’m sitting in, there’s about a dozen kids from my school with various other hangers-on. Most of them don’t really follow the footy, let alone Richmond, but clearly, we’re the hottest ticket in town right now.

Although Barassi’s tenure at North is approaching its end, as is North’s era of dominance, there are no signs of either today. The Kangaroos shoot out of the blocks, quickly establishing a lead of three goals. It could easily be more, but for their inaccuracy. Richmond takes time to settle. Perhaps their run of massive wins has dulled their hunger. Just as these doubts start circling in my head, the team clicks into gear and restores scoreboard parity by the break.

The pattern is repeated over the next two pulsating quarters. North kicks away, Richmond claws back the deficit. This is rich entertainment for my bandwagon-hopping mates, but after weeks of massive wins, it’s gut-wrenching stuff for me. North should be well ahead. They have lots of forward options – Briedis, Boyse, Blight, Good, McCann – but none have brought their finishing touch today.

In contrast, Richmond is feeding off scraps but is converting well, most particularly through Michael Roach. After a virtual rest day last week, Michael Roach is causing the North defence plenty of grief and has his kicking boot well and truly on. In the absence of David Dench, North tries Darryl Sutton and (I think) John Law and Ken Motgomery, but none can match Roach’s size and agility.

The final quarter changes the pattern. It’s the Tigers who forge ahead, Roach adding his sixth and seventh goals. In a tight, fluctuating contest our lead of nearly four goals looks enough. But Barassi’s men won’t lie down. Although clearly fatigued after a cracking contest, North persist to the end, eventually falling short by just seven points. The Age match report headline “Golden Boot Sinks North” sums up the difference between the sides on the day.

As the bandwagon of school friends and acquaintances sidles out, clearly impressed by the contest they’ve witnessed, I play it casual and cool, like, this is the sort of fare we Richmond supporters watch every week.

Deep down though, I know we’ve enjoyed a good slice of luck in winning one of the games of the season. To emerge from it a game and a half clear on top of the ladder is a massive bonus.

The Wrap
Richmond 6.4 9.7 13.10 15.15 (105)
North Melbourne 4.7 7.13 10.15 13.20 (98)

Rich: Roach 7, Bartlett 3, Wiley 2, Cloke, Lee, Monteath
North Melb: Briedis 4, Boyse 3, Blight, Bond, Glendinning, Greig, McCann, Podolczak

Major Stats
After weeks of dominant performances, Richmond really had a tough fight on its hands today and the stats showed it. The much-awaited battle between Lee and Dempsey in the ruck was a break-even affair and the respective midfields appeared to share honours also, Geoff Raines topping the match possessions with 25.

Roach kicked his seven goals from just 10 kicks and three marks and the indefatigable Bartlett had 23 possessions and three goals four.

Some famous names were prominent for North today including Dempsey, Schimmelbusch (W), Glendinning, Icke and Briedis.

61,769 at the MCG

In other games…
Carlton 14.20 (104) v St Kilda 9.8 (62) at VFL Park
Footscray 18.11 (119) v Collingwood 24.17 (161) at Western Oval
Geelong 18.15 (123) v Fitzroy 17.6 (108) at Kardinia Park
South Melbourne 28.15 (183) v Hawthorn 14.15 (99) at Lake Oval
Essendon 17.18 (120) v Melbourne 11.10 (76) at Windy Hill

The other big game of Round 10 was at South Melbourne where the home side caused a sensation by thrashing Hawthorn, including a 10 goal last quarter. After looking a likely finalist to this point of the year, Hawthorn’s demise began in earnest with this result, whilst South was now emerging as a real contender.

Elsewhere, it was pretty low-key stuff, with contenders Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon and Geelong all recording comfortable wins over the teams now clearly in the bottom four.

The Ladder
Team                W   L   D    PF    PA    %      Points
Richmond        8    1    1   1370  928 147.6   34
Nth Melb          7    3    0    1128 869 129.8  28
Carlton             7    3    0    1131  985 114.8   28
Sth Melb          7    3    0    1160 1023 113.4  28
Geelong            6    4    0    1055  945 111.6   24
Hawthorn          6    4     0    1074 1097 97.9      24
Collingwood       5    4    1     1077 1060 101.6     22
Essendon            5    5    0     1084   967 112.1     20
Melbourne          3    7    0     1020 1280 79.7       12
Fitzroy                2    7     1     1071  1252 85.5      10
St Kilda               2    7     1       914  1209 75.6      10
Footscray            0  10    0       931   1400 66.5      0

(Next Week – Round 11)

About Sam Steele

50 years a Richmond supporter. Enjoying a bounteous time after 37 years of drought. Should've been a farmer!


  1. Matt Zurbo says

    Sam, this Personal Almanac of yours is just brilliant! Am totally loving it. (my favorite player as a youngster was No. 6 Stephen Mount)

  2. Roger Podolczak, there’s a blast from the past. Did he finish up at Melbourne ?


  3. Jeff Dowsing says

    Collingwood still 7th after Round 10… I’d like to put a lazy $100 on them making the GF at 250-1 please.

  4. Well spotted Jeff, what ammount will U lay on the Pies for the flag ?


  5. Ripsnorter says


    I believe that Roger Podolczak actually went to Claremont in the trade involving the Krakour brothers, think he ended up back in Victoria – played in Sunbury’s 1990 Flag in the RDFL and was a very good local cricketer as well.

  6. Jeff Dowsing says

    I’ll back the Pies at $100k but I want 85 points in!

    What kind of return do you think I can expect Glen?

  7. Lord Bogan says

    Another ripper piece Stainless…until I saw the name Kerry Good…Urgh!

  8. Jeff Dowsing says

    Time to start a viral social media campaign to get a retrospective 1980 Escort Cup flag Phil.

  9. Thanks for the reply Jeff. I’ll consult the erstwhile Kim Wells, who’s managing Victorias’ finances, to acsertain how much of our surplus i’m allowed to wager on that bet. Failing that i’l liase with my niece re the monopoly money.


    PS: Re the 1980 night GF, it was a GOOD night for the Roos.

  10. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Jeff and Glen, Bloody Good wouldn’t have been a bother if umpire Ian Robinson could hear properly. What a terrible way for a 10 year old to experience his first live GF, but I’m over it now…to a degree.

  11. Jeff Dowsing says

    Didn’t they end up blaming the siren itself – either it rang too soft or the timekeepers sounded the wrong one?

    Either way, that sort of stuff can scar a boy. If it was America there’d be a class action filed.

  12. roger podolczak is actually my father

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