AFL Round 10: Tigers hang on in thriller

by Michael Allan

Another Saturday night, another Richmond game to sit through. Fortunately tonight I don’t have to leave the comfort of the couch to do so. The parents are out tonight so it’s just my Hawthorn supporting sister Bron  and I are watching ‘Before the Game.’ I need all laughs I can get before another dismal Richmond loss. Normally I’d be confident against Freo but after the form of the two teams over the last few weeks Richmond have no reason to win.

The coverage starts with footage of Ben Cousins flipping the middle finger to a change room camera. Not the start I was looking for from the former Brownlow medallist. To me it’s his way at getting back at the media that has been following him everywhere since being drafted to Richmond, unfortunately he did it in the stupidist possible way.

Bron retreats to her bedroom leaving me to watch the start of the game alone.  The match starts with Sandilands dominating winning the opening ruck contests before dropping down in the forward line to slot the opening goal. I can tell he’s going to be to0 much  for Simmonds to handle tonight. Richmond respond soon after as Chris Newman makes Andrew Foster pay full price for his clanger kick. Des Headland takes a fantastic speckie in the goal square to give Frematle the lead before Pavlich roves a ball at ground level to extend the lead. Richmond’s defence seems lost as they have the last few weeks, last year they were Richmond’s best asset. Resounding boos fill the stadium as Cousins snaps a goal to reduce the margin. I notice he has his hand strapped up for precaution, it would be devastating if we were to lose him again. One of my favorites Nathan Foley roves to Sandilands and kicks a goal to give Richmond the lead but I doubt the Tigers will be able to hold this lead with the forwards yet to get into the game. Thankfully Riewoldt answers my concerns with a goal. However Des Headland continues to put on a show snapping wonderful goal from a Sandilands tap. Goals to Sandilands and Pavlich give Fremantle an eleven point lead at quarter time.

I report the scores to Bron who sits down to  watch the second quarter at the sound of a close high scoring game. But Fremantle slow down the match. After playing a high speed attacking first quarter the Dockers opt for a Collingwood inspired game plan. Short passes along the wing turns the game into a struggle with neither team able to get an advantage over the other. Finaly Deledio and Tuck find space in the middle to send the ball in to Jack Riewoldt who takes advantage bringing the margin back to five points. Another stoppage is won by Fremantle in the forward line, this time Michael Johnson finds space and snaps the goal. Paul Duffield  is the man who Fremantle constantly goes back to set up the plays. His trusty right foot finds Thornton who slots a goal after the siren to extend the margin and to put horrible thoughts back into my mind. Bron says Richmond will win. I say they wont.

As the third term begins Bron opens some chocalate to calm me down. I’ve been pretty angry with the performance of Simmonds, Brown, Pettifer and the defence as I have all year. Deledio provides a spark for the Tigers with a spectacular goal giving a “don’t agrue” to a Fremanlte player then bombing a goal from fifty meters out. Brown starts to deliver kicking two consecutive goals with the help of Deledio getting the ball into him both times. The Tigers hit the front and have lifted in the process. Jackson, Collins, Tambling and Cousins all start to delevier and goals to Nahas and Tuck gives Richmond  fifteen point lead. But it doesn’t stop there. Cotchin shows his class and awareness slotting his first while Mcguane sneaks forward to kick a goal of his own. A string of handpasses ends in a goal to Morton. Richmond look set for victory as Mcpharlin adds to Fremantle’s injury list leaving the Dockers with just one fit interchange. Bron says Richmond are home. I’m still not sure. After our past month I can never be sure. Suban restarts the Dockers and my fears kicking a great goal fifty out. Tarrant and Mundy finish off the quarter with goals to their name while I finish the quarter certain that Richmond has lost. Bron still remains confident that a healthy Richmond bench will prove the difference in the forth term.

Tigers come out well in the forth quarter. Tambling who has had a great game off half back goes for a run down the wing sharing the ball with Newman and Brown in between before finishing off with a goal. My nerves aren’t settled though, after Tarrant, Duffield and Haselby kick goals in the space of four minutes bringing the game back to four points I feel loss is inevitable. Easy misses to Soloman and Schammer cost Freo dearly while threatening to give me a heart attack. Richmond make Freo pay for their mistakes. Deledio manages to kick a miraculous goal snapping from the boundry line while Simmonds kicks a goal to improve the margin. But the Dockers aren’t done with yet. Thornton kicks his second goal to keep Freo in the hunt with plenty of time remaining. Peake kicks a nice a goal to give make it a two point game. I can no longer sit down, I stand up with a mixture of exitement and fear. Again Fremantle are given the opportunity to hit the front but fail to do so. This time the villian is De Boer. It doesn’t matter though, Freo hit the front from a soccer kick in the goal square for Michael Johnson. For me this seals the game. I slump back into the couch in disgust at the Tigers. Unlike me the Tigers don’t give up. Richmond sets up from the wing Bowden hands the ball off to the running Cotchin who hits Morton on the chest. I stand up to celebrate but there’s no time Morton gets to his feet before his opponent and snaps around his body to give tigers a three point lead. I am amazed, four weeks earlier Morton cost Richmond the game by playing on and now he has given Richmond the lead by doing the same thing.  Fremantle continue to surge forward but Richmond hang on desperately. Shane Tuck gets his hands on the ball and boots it away from goals and finds the boundary. The ball is thrown in and boos fill the ground at the call. The siren sounds soon after declaring Richmond’s second victory for the season.

My celebration is complemented with a call from my Richmond mum. She says she watched the last 5 minutes at a bar. After giving her a quick rundown of the game I go back to the footy. Cousins does an interview thanking Richmond but is not questioned about his bizarre actions before the game. I’m sure the AFL will fine him later in the week. But for now the moment belongs to Richmond and to the players  that proved tonight that they can learn from their mistakes.

Fremantle: 6.2   8.5  11.6  17.10 (112)

Richmond: 4.3  5.9  13.9  17.13 (115)


Fremantle: Headland 2, Sandilands 2, Pavlich 2, Tarrant 2, Thornton 2, Johnson 2, Suban, Mundy, Duffeild, Haselby, Peake

Richmond: Reiwoldt 2, Deledio 2, Morton 2, Brown 2, Newman, Cousins, Foley, Tuck, Cotchin, Mcguane, Tambling, Simmonds, Nahas


Fremantle: Sandilands, Duffield, Johnson, Pavlich

Richmond: Deledio, Jackson, Tambling, Cousins, Collins


  1. This was a shocking performance by Fremantle, Richmond didnt deserve the win. This game was nothing to get excited about, and Terry Wallace is on the way out!

  2. Michael Allan says

    Lewis I agree with you that Fremantle should have won. They had Richmond beat in the first quarter but decide to scrap their running game for a slow build up. They started coming back when they went back to kicking the ball to contests and either crumbing the ball or taking the mark against Richmonds woeful defence. I think it was an exiting game though. The momentum shifted dramaticly throughout the second half and was the only decent game all round.

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