AFL Round 12: Lights, Camera, Cousins!

by Michael Allan

As I walk through the turnstiles looking around for the absent Record seller, I notice something unusual, West Coast supporters are everywhere. How could I forget? Tonight, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Cousins” (I was drafted under exceptional circumstances) crosses another plot in this gripping saga as Ben faces his old club West Coast. Many  Eagle supporters obviously couldn’t wait to see him, and have made the trip over. Dodging and weaving through all of them, I eventually find a Record. I just hope we’ve got Richmond people around us.

The seats don’t dissapoint. Front row, ground level, surrounded by Richmond supporters. Most of the Perth residents are in the next bay as they make plenty of noise as Cousins (oh yeah, the rest of the team too) run out. I see some interesting match ups early. Jackson has gone to Kerr; that was a ‘no brainer’ for Rawlings. Jackson has been our best tagger all year. Glass has gone to Vickery. One goal from the debutant is all I ask from Tyronne tonight. It’s a big ask playing on one of the best full backs in the competition in your first game.

Richmond get off to a great start, with  the Tigers getting  three goals, while West Coast get three posessions. Former Blue Josh Kennedy, finally nails one to briefly stop momentum, only for it to start back up again with a goal to Deledio. Mum is delighted when Morton slots his third for the quarter, while I’m delighted with Tambling’s efforts. He finishes the quarter with 14 disposals, continualy banging the ball into the forward line. I’ve always felt a bit sorry for Tambling. It wasn’t his fault he was taken before Franklin, and it’s great to see him finally proving his drafting  critics not completely stupid. But Richmond don’t capitalise on opportunity. Riewoldt misses an easy one while  Foley runs into the forward 50 uncontested, only to  shank his  kick. As Cousins walks  past me for a spell, a huge roar from the crowd starts. As he passes the West Coast bay, a sign goes up reading “Such is life. Make me your wife.” It’s clear that they still love him. I reckon alot of them wish they had him. He’s certainly been in good form.

At the end of the first quarter Richmond lead by four goals but it should be six or seven. Neither of us are any more confident than what we were at the start of the game. All West Coast need to do is to put on some degree of pressure, then you’ll see the Richmond of “last season.”

In the second term that is exactly what happened. A deadlock in scoring was finally broken by Kennedy who shows Richmond how to kick at goal. Richmond’s midfield however, shows West Coast how to win a centre clearence, in response. Cox should be dominating against Richmond’s inexperienced ruckmen but is only playing at their standards. He’s not the only premeirship player stuggling. Kerr cops unnpleasent treatment from Jackson. Like my soccer game earlier today,  the umpire is soft and rewards Kerr for Jackson’s niggling. Wirrapanda has stepped up though. His run off half back matches that of Tambling’s at the other end of the ground. The umpire somehow misses and undeniably high tackle that results in a Richmond goal. The half ends with Richmond up by three goals. Mum and I agree this script has loss written all over it for Richmond.

The third term goes along just as the second did. First blood goes to Richmond, as a comedy of errors end up in a snap shot from Hislop that sails through the middle sticks. Naitanui exhibits why he should’ve been pick one in the draft as he picks the ball up with one hand, ”sells candy” and shoots the handball away for LeCras to finish off. His athletic ability and raw power is enough to convince me. You can teach footy skills, you can’t teach Naitanui’s freakish verticle leap.

Vickery attempts to respond by having a shot on goal but doesn’t even make the journey and results in a West Coast mark. On the big screen I see Vickery celebrating, I think to myself ‘Gee Tyrone we have low standards at Richmond not that low. To my amazement the goal umpire signals a goal. Before I refocus,  the ball has already been  bounced. I better keep up with the game because it’s around now we start to lose it. The very quiet Rosa kicks a goal to put the pressure back on Richmond. Ebert and Selwood (Adam I think) both miss gettable shots,before Selwood (This time it’s definately Adam) kicks a goal. As the third quarter ends I ask myself a question, “Richmond are capable of losing it, but are West Coast capable of winning it?” I say no but my mum says yes. I’m always the optimistic one.

The fourth starts well for Richmond. The midfeild get back to winning the clearenses, with Jackson, Foley and Cousins a class above the rest. Mum’s thrilled when Morton kicks the first two goals. We now have a defendable margin, so it’s just a matter of doing it. West Coast gain dominance through the middle again, as Kerr starts to get a bit of freedom. The ball is constantly bombarded into West Coasts forwards. Somehow it is always a Richmond defender who takes the contested mark, whether it be Mcguane, Moore or Polo. Mum is outraged with our defensive nature, chipping the ball and hugging the boundary line as opposed to West Coast who are taking the ball straight through the guts. Shane Edwards seals the game with a goal, ending a decent game for him, and proving he should retain his spot in the team.

After singing the song, high fiving Cotchin and Morton and eating  our victory jam donuts, Mum and I discuss the victory. We agree everybody should stay in the team and see how they go against a quality team like St Kilda. I’m annoyed though, after all these losses we finally get a win and our momentum has been cut short by the split round. “No it’s a good thing Mike.” she says “It means we get two weeks to celebrate a win.” She does have a point. Still, who has a break after the first round of the season?

Richmond: 5.6  8.8  10.12  13.14 (92)

West Coast: 2.0  6.2 9.7  11.11 (77)


Richmond: Morton 5,  Edwards 2, Hislop 2, Riewoldt, Vickery, Deledio, Graham

West Coast: Kennedy 4, LeCras 3, Priddis, Brown, Rosa, A.Selwood


Richmond: Tambling, Jackson, Morton, Mcguane, Foley

West Coast: Priddis, Kennedy, Wirripanda, Masten, LeCras

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