AFL Round 10 – West Coast v Richmond: Footy algorithms and unlikely allies

Life can be chaotic at the best of times. By adding ‘Monday Night Football’ into the mix, my whole system is at risk of collapse. It was a school day for the kids, a nine to five work day for my wife and a much needed day of study for myself, with the Master Two in hot pursuit. Add to that a hastily arranged evening visit from our dear friends Philippa and Tom, over from the UK, and the footy was soon becoming a miniscule footnote of my evening, amid bedtime stories, nappies and the entertainment of international guests.

The usual pre-match nerves never arose. Monday isn’t rolled out like a regular match day. The weekend had felt like the bye, and as I checked the paper on Monday morning, the ladder stared back at me, incomplete, with an asterisk next to both West Coast and Richmond. The traditional Monday morning wrap-up became a Monday morning preview. My footballing algorithms were being toyed with!

But to the contest at hand. I am never very confident when the Tiges play a game of football, and you can halve that ‘confidence’ when we head over to Perth to tackle the Eagles. In West Coast’s 26 completed seasons, Richmond has only twice defeated them at Subiaco. Twice! I can add that to the pile of Tiger misery I’ve been collecting since I could walk.

Anyway, the house was spotless, the home-made pizza bases awaited their toppings, the drinks cooled nicely in the fridge as a clever combination of candles and lamps filled the house with a relaxing ambience. Some mood music was chosen by Miss Six, her ‘Life Is Beautiful’ CD of relaxing classical pieces filled the house, a world away from the tension which engulfs my regular pre-match psyche.

Soon the house was filled with laughter, with chatter and with the distant rumble of our washing machine, cleaning the traveling party’s smalls. Stories of marathons run, near sightings of Bowie and the discovery of vinyl filled the room, as our kids put on their charm and charisma as only they can. Miss 11 even brought some of her finest ‘Basil Fawlty’ to the table, much to the amusement of our guests.

I casually kept an eye on the time, the game rapidly approaching, but the good food, drink and company had gotten the better of me. Until I checked on the scores, that is.

The candles were snuffed and classical music silenced as my animal instincts took over. Ambience gave way to the glow of the idiot box. I began watching as Richmond were in the middle of a second quarter rampage, the team’s bookends booting 2 goals apiece for the term; the blossoming Nick Vlastuin and the evergreen Chris Newman, truly one of my favourite Tigers. We even held the Eagles goalless for a quarter in Perth! Unthinkable.

In the third term, as the Tigers picked up where they left off, the nerves finally kicked in.

“What if we manage to lose this?”

“How far do we need to be in front before it’s safe?”

Tom, our friend from the mother country scoffed, assuring me that with a score line like that, my concern was misplaced. After a brief history lesson on the Richmond Football Club however (1983-current) he fully understood, and drew a parallel with watching England in, well, numerous sporting endeavors. I had an ally.

Our guests were very understanding. Philippa, an ex-pat from a Swan supporting family, understood all too well what footy can do to people. She shared stories of her family’s wild and drunken celebrations after the 2012 grand final, and that during a recent visit they sat her down not to watch the grand final, but to watch a movie of them watching the grand final! I suddenly felt subdued in my support.

West Coast finally found the gap between the two big sticks in quarter three, which ended a run of 10 consecutive Tiger goals. This reminded me fondly of another Monday night match way back in 1995, when the Tigers piled on 9 goals in an opening quarter, running riot against a very strong North Melbourne team. There’s nothing like Richmond in ‘feast’ mode; it’s been famine for oh so long.

Richmond again steadied, and this notoriously anxious Richmond-watcher felt himself begin to relax. Whether it was the company, my full and satisfied tummy, or the confidence instilled by another classy Nick Vlastuin goal that made me feel this way I’m not too sure. Most likely it was a combination of the three.

The final stanza was an enjoyable, stress free affair, other than getting the kids off to bed and remembering that Tuesday lurked in the background. The Tigers ran all night, Matty White, Grigg and Nat Foley relishing the space afforded them by both opposition and venue, whilst Lids was able to break free of a tag in a best on ground display.

The defensive work of Rance and Chaplin reached it’s most coordinated level to date and our ‘rascalish’ tactic of allowing West Coast the hit out before stripping them of the ball must surely have brought a smirk to Bob Murphy’s face.

The siren sounded, I threw a fist into the air, and returned my attention fully to our dear guests, hoping they’d not minded my somewhat aloof nature the past 90 minutes. We continued to chat into the evening, and crammed a years worth of conversation into the short time afforded us.

One sour note football wise was the ever-improving Titch Edwards (shhhh…he’s our secret) leaving the field with an eye injury after producing another fantastic half of football. His red eye however matched the post-match flight across the nullarbor, a rare victory in Perth against the might of West Coast gave cause for a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Perhaps Monday night football isn’t so bad after all.

WEST COAST      3.3   3.6   5.9      8.14  (62)
RICHMOND          2.3   8.4   14.5   16.7  (103)


West Coast: Kennedy 3, Hill 2, Darling, Kerr, S Selwood

Richmond: Vlastuin 3, S Edwards 2, Newman 2, Vickery 2, Riewoldt 2, Jackson, King, Martin, White, A Edwards


West Coast: Selwood, Naitanui, Kennedy, Shuey, Masten, Priddis

Richmond: Deledio, Jackson, Cotchin, White, Foley, Vlastuin, Martin

Umpires: Bannister, Margetts, Stevic

Official crowd: 37,781

Our Votes: 3 B.Deledio (R) 2 D.Jackson (R) 1 N.Vlastuin (R)

About John Carr

First and foremost, I'm a Richmondite- 5th generation and dyed in the wool. I love the club, but also have a love for the game itself, and love to explore the cultural and social aspects of Australian Rules football. I am married with 4 kids, and also have a love of music, and run a small recording studio


  1. I can empathise with your dilemma John, having one half of your brain tuned to your guests and the other somewhere else can lead to a splitting headache! It was a great win by the Tiges, might get their season back on track.

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