Round 1 – Carlton v Richmond: Bachar’s 150th


Thursday, March 23, 2017



6.50am. The workman down the street have done it again. I’m up ten minutes before my alarm. A pillow over my head does nothing. The jackhammer is too loud. I groan and turn the radio on. I’m still dazed, still wishing away the hammering.


The news. A ‘terrorist’ attack on Westminster Bridge in London. Four dead. This jolts my mind into gear. A couple of messages later, I know my mates are all safe. Relief. Trevor Brooks, or Abu Izzadeen, is named as the perpetrator.


8am. I’m wide awake now. A conversation with my older sister. Richmond can’t win tonight. They can gain four points and keep the critics at bay for another week but anything less than a convincing win will feel like a loss. And if they do actually lose? We agree that the thought is terrifying.


Except it isn’t really terrifying, not when four people have died in a senseless attack overnight. Keith Miller once said that true pressure has nothing to do with sport and everything to do with having an enemy fighter jet up your arse.


Losing isn’t terrifying. Not at all.



A Scroll Through Social Media

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (a Muslim) posts a tweet saying that his city will never be cowed by terrorism. I click on the responses.


@EuanOscroft (on why the Mayor’s response didn’t come sooner) – ‘He (Sadiq) was mourning the loss of his fellow Muslim’


@Waterbender1987 – ‘There’s no terror in MASSIVE TOKYO. Muslim “religion” is the problem. They don’t belong in the WEST.’


@GreenSnake11_ – ‘Resign. A Muslim should not be London Mayor. Europe needs to be more civilized than that.’


@Bex118 – ‘Empty words, crocodile tears. Wonder which one of your mates is responsible for this attack?’


Meanwhile, Pauline Hanson has taken the opportunity to retweet her party’s stance on Muslim immigration – ‘One Nation has the only policy that protects you from the growing threat of Islamic terror. #Pray4MuslimBan’


Another report has also surfaced, suggesting that Channel 4 News in the UK wrongly identified the perpetrator.


Bachar Houli plays his 150th AFL game tonight. The Australian Islamic Centre in Newport posts a live video on Facebook, with the bearded Tiger taking viewers around the nearly completed mosque. He makes a point of stressing that all Australians are welcome at the centre. Houli is a well-known Muslim. He’s also a zippy and highly effective rebounding defender.


Over the summer and amidst the calls from Hanson, Trump and others for total bans on Muslim immigration, Usman Khawaja made a test hundred. A meme went up on Facebook featuring an image of Khawaja raising his bat, captioned ‘These bloody Muslims, coming here and scoring our centuries.’


Game Time

I leave work and catch the train to Jolimont. I meet my sister at the statue of KB. He looks divine. One man comments that the sculptor was generous with the hair. A young Tiger refuses to have a photo with KB. ‘He looks too old to play footy.’ Ouch.


The opening bounce sneaks up a little. People are still clambering in. Weitering goes forward, starting on Rance. Houli is on the bench. The first six kicks leave a little to be desired but we soon settle and kick the opening three goals. My nerves also settle.


We’re playing as we did in the JLT. Our ball movement is quick, our handball is slick and our pressure around the ball, especially in our half, is huge. That said, no one bothered to lock the back door on the way out and we trip over our own feet a couple of times with poor turnovers. Seven goals to four at the first change.


We really start to put the foot down in the second quarter, piling on early goals. Martin is immense and despite handballing off two dollies, my pre-game punt on him to kick three or more has already landed.


We don’t kick on in the third, much to my frustration, and Carlton get within five goals. Dusty comes to town again early in the last, though, to crush any hopes of a Tiger implosion. The 80-metre torp he unleashes from the defensive edge of the centre square is the highlight. It just keeps on floating, like a balloon on the wind, and Caddy eventually soccers it home. The Tigers are home, too.


In the end, we win by 43. Despite the score, I feel a bit disappointed that we didn’t push on and win by more. Next week against Collingwood is going to be a much better measure of where we’re at. It isn’t a terrifying prospect, though. Sport rarely is.


Houli, the 150-gamer, is a touch rusty by his usual standards but he’s definitely a contributor. He was out there in front of 70-odd thousand, playing our game. His game. Those bloody Muslims, coming here and providing zip off the half-back flank…


CARLTON        4.3   7.4    12.4   14.5 (89)
RICHMOND     7.3   13.5   15.11   20.12 (132)


Carlton: Weitering 3, Wright 3, Kreuzer 2, Silvagni 2, Casboult, Gibbs, Armfield, Thomas
Richmond: Martin 4, Castagna 2, Butler 2, Nankervis 2, Rioli 2, Caddy, Edwards, Grigg, Riewoldt, Cotchin, Lloyd, Prestia, Vlastuin

Carlton: Murphy, Silvagni, Weitering, Gibbs, Marchbank, Kreuzer
Richmond: Martin, Prestia, Cotchin, Castagna, Butler, Conca, Riewoldt


3. D Martin (Richmond)

2. M Murphy (Carlton)

1. D Prestia (Richmond)

Umpires: Stevic, Nicholls, Hay

Official crowd: 73,137 at the MCG




About Jack Banister

Journalism student @ Melbourne Uni, Brunswick Hockey Club Men's Coach, tortured Tigers fan.


  1. Peter Warrington says

    Well done Bachar. Not my fave player at Richmond but seems a top dude and certainly his presence in one of the big clubs has enormous social significance in times like these.

    i really thought we got spooked when we missed a few gettable ones in a row in the 3rd – Lloyd and George especially.

    If 2:6 was even 4:4 we would have 40 up and gone on to win by 60 or 70. Probably good we didn’t, just keep a lid on things

    I thought Caddy seemed unsure of his role. Hunt and McIntosh have to go for C Ellis and Markov. Vlastuin and Conca showing the willingness to step up.

    Nankervis servicable. nice to see a left footed ruck. very Greg Dear!

    as for Dusty. The more people bag him and attack his character, the better he gets. Ashes to Ashes, Dusty to Dusty…

  2. Yep – frustrating to see us spooked by Carlton, although their big players did stand up in patches. I loved Jack Silvagni’s game. He’s going to be a star.

    Agree on Taylor Hunt, although I do rate McIntosh. Lots of positives, but far too early to really know where we’re at I think!

  3. Peter Warrington says

    McIntosh is a good athlete and has put on good size. But his disposal is pretty awful. Maybe play him up forward, where he can’t do too much damage.

    we have lots of guys who can play better – Jack, Rance, Caddy, Cotch, Griffo – lots of upside!

  4. Dusty leading the Coleman and the Brownlow, the Tigers on top and KB now outside the ‘G.
    How good.

    In all seriousness, it’s maybe the most pleasing thing that a lot of guys didn’t get out of 2nd gear!

  5. I really dug the political section at the beginning of the piece, Jack. Framed the scenario for Muslims and Houli really well. It’s amazing what fear and ignorance can do. I look forward to more of your work, man.

  6. JBanister says

    Thanks Matty – great to catch-up at lunch yesterday!

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