AFL Round 1 – Gold Coast v Richmond: Three Richmond supporters walk into a…

Gold Coast v Richmond

Metricon Stadium, Carrara

by Callum O’Connor


At long last, the siren rang across the humid Metricon Stadium and Gold Coast celebrated a scrappy victory. The Tigers dawdled off the field, hands on hips and heads bowed.

Hundreds of miles away, the Three Richmond Supporters – Optimism, Pessimism and Retrospect – sat on a squishy couch, watching the camera fawn over Gary Ablett. For a while, no one spoke. There was, after all, a lot to consider before they made their final declarations.

It was Optimism who spoke first. He shifted towards his compatriots and met their cold silence with an appeasing tone of rationality.

“Well, look, first of all, this is not our best team. In fact, it’s missing crucial players all over the ground. Dan Jackson? Only our best tagger! Remember the last time we played Gold Coast? He suffocated Ablett and we won. So he’s not here tonight, Ablett cut loose and we lost. This isn’t to take anything away from poor Matty Thomas. How is that – his first game at a new club and he’s gotta stop Ablett. There’s only one man who can do that and that’s Jackson.

And Ivan the Great was injured. And replaced with Shaun Hampson. So our midfield was fighting an uphill battle before the game started, and against their midfield, which is pretty handy now, no mistaking that…I thought we did OK.
Also, our defence was missing Dylan Grimes. The kid’s a junkyard dog. He would’ve killed one of their forwards, don’t you worry about that. And Jake King was gone. There’s two goals out of our forward line – which, as I’m sure you boys will agree, was looking too tall tonight and badly needed that little, bustling ball of energy. So we were hampered all over the ground.

“And after all, this is our first game at Metricon. Nobody’s noticed that, have they? Every other team – and I mean every other team – got to play the Suns at Metricon when they were still walkovers, but not us! So keep your chins up, lads. Because it’s not as if the Suns are easybeats anymore. In fact, they’re moving at bloody warp speed. Did you not see how big they were tonight? They’re men now. Look at bloody May, McKenzie and Lynch….they’ve grown a real team, you gotta realise that!

“But look at some of the positives – Ben Griffiths! That boy’s got speed and height, which we could do with, and it looks like he can play anywhere. Speaking of which, Dusty Martin had real focus tonight. He went back, plugged holes and laid some ripping tackles, then went forward and used the ball well. He is, after all, one of the league’s most damaging players. And he’s got some company now in Matty McDonough – I like the looks of him! We need in-and-under players, and he fits the bill.

“And let’s think of small mercies, fellows – losing to Gold Coast in Round 1 is a good wake-up call, but it’s not season derailing, like it was two years ago…and the year before that. And let’s face it – once you’ve lost to Karmichael Hunt, after the siren, after being ten points up with a minute left, every loss pales in comparison. Right?”

Optimism watched his fellows’ faces to see if he had pulled them out of their fury. No such luck. Pessimism pulled at his lace-up, woollen 1980 jersey and began to snarl.

“I don’t know how you can pull any positives out of that. It’s another loss. Another Round 1 loss, no less. And to a club conceived and birthed just a few years ago. How does a club started from scratch outplay us again and again and again?! It beggars belief.
I mean, we’ve obviously gone backwards. We’ve hardly put a step wrong in recruiting since Hardwick took over, but that little run’s finished. I mean, look at Hampson. You know what the headline was when we picked him up? “Tiger’s get Megan’s man.” Says it all!

“And how bumbling did we look at either end? Whilst they’ve got talls who give each other space to manoeuvre in, we charged the ball like the light brigade and hardly gave each other room to breathe, let alone mark. You’d think someone – if not Hardwick, then just one of the forwards – would look afield and think, “Hey….that looks like an idea.” No. Not one. So they spoiled each other, made their defenders’ jobs a helluva lot easier, made the ball easier to clear and just heaped the pressure on our defenders. But bloody Rance! Sure, that pretty boy looks good on a poster, but Lynch outran him. Nope, that whole circus was lamentable. Our forwards and defenders just looked slow. Stuck, even.

“And don’t tell me Ablett was the man between us and victory. Not when Cotchin racks up 38 touches. I mean, you boys know how I feel about Cotchin not taking number 17 when he became captain. But he’s a gun and he needs support. Are we too reliant on structures and plans? Can we think for ourselves? Looks like we gotta lotta good players, but not many are becoming great. Fair dinkum, can we get a cloning machine and stick Nick Vlastuin in it?!

“Hey – look at the press conference! Hardwick’s naming names – yep, Conca and Ellis. “I thought I’d get more out of ‘em,” nail on the head, Damien. See, I’m talking about guys like that. Good, but limited. Ooh, Hardwick’ll flog ‘em this week. He’s tough, Hardwick, I’ll give him that. Doesn’t suffer Tamblings gladly. He’ll be dropping players before our next game. Mind you, where will he stop? There’s gotta be a point where he needs 18 men. Fair dinkum, he’ll take maybe ten blokes from tonight’s performance and the rest better be very good during the week. And we need a genuine ruckman. What’s that young kid’s name? Liam McBean? Throw him in and hit the fast forward button on his development, because Maric is still weeks away and I don’t think I can take another week of Hampson-Griffiths-Vickery!

“How early in the season can you be in trouble?  Because, I swear, if we get rolled by the bloody Blues again, I’m throwing in the towel. What a rubbish start.”

So Optimism and Pessimism both fell silent. As one, they looked at Retrospect, who was still watching the TV. He realised the gaze of his comrades was upon him and felt compelled to say something.

“Well….I think it’s Terry Wallace’s fault.”

And with that, the Richmond supporter – for, of course, every Richmond supporter has the Three Richmond Supporters fighting and arguing inside their hearts – stood up from the squishy couch, turned off the TV and went to bed.

GOLD COAST      5.4          6.5          7.13        12.15 (87)

RICHMOND          3.1          5.6          6.7          10.9 (69)

Gold Coast: Day 2, Stanley 2, Ablett 2, Lynch 2, Prestia, O’Meara, Matera, Swallow

      Richmond: Vickery 2, Vlastuin, Petterd, Riewoldt, Cotchin, Griffiths, Edwards, Martin, Deledio.
Best – Gold Coast: Ablett, Swallow, Lynch, May, Shaw, Prestia.
         – Richmond: Cotchin, Martin, Vlastuin, McDonough, Thomas, Foley.
VOTES: 3 – G. Ablett (GC) 2 – D. Swallow (GC) 1 – S. May (GC)




About Callum O'Connor

Here's to feelin' good all the time.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Wonderful wonderful writing. Loved it.

  2. Good work here Callum. Really enjoyed it. But seeing that he tied the Tigers probs in with Terry ‘Wallet’ Wallace (I’m a dogs fan!), I wanted way way more from Retrospect. Perhaps a future piece, yes?

  3. T Bone – there’s an idea for my ‘trademark’ … OK, in all honesty I was stuck for things that Retrospect would say that Pessimism hadn’t. By the way – “Wallet” – ripper nickname. Do you Dogs fans all refer to him as that when you get together?

  4. Terry “Wallet” Wallace is about as nice as it gets for me and my crew. I mean, what a nerve, eh? Telling us the we couldn’t get HIM to the next level of his development. Mate, he breaks up with football clubs the way Mick Jagger does with woman (“Ain;t it time we said goodbye?”) But better leave that there at the mome seeing that Micjks had a pretty rough week.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Well done Callun v entertaining will deliousonal make a appearance ?

  6. Callum

    Clever, clever, clever


  7. Greg of NQ says

    Marvellous Callum – and as a Tigers fan who was at the ground for both of the losses to the Suns in Cairns I can relate in particular to Pessimism (P S I think I have somewhere in my wardrobe Jimmy Jess’s 1980 training jersey – at least that’s what the bloke who it gave it to me for my birthday told me – any offers?).

  8. man I just can’t stand Houli getting picked every week. good 1 in 10, soft, slow. give me Vlastuin again and again.

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