AFL Round 12 – Richmond v Adelaide: Season smashed to smithereens

By Rajesh Singh

This game promised to be a ripper from the outset. A mini preliminary final 9th vs. 10th both teams competing for a coveted finals position. With Richmond coming off the bye after a big win in the West they were sure to be fresh. The Crows would surely respond after a 70 point thrashing at the hands of the rampant Swans. Sando promised a response and had wielded the axe making 4 changes. Reilly Crouch and Kerridge omitted with Petrenko injured. Mackay, Jaensch, Brown and Wright recalled. There was still no place for Stiffy Johncock even after kicking 6 goals in the SANFL for Port. His card has been marked and it seems he will not be given another chance. Kerridge dropped after kicking 6 a few weeks before versus the Kangas? What is going on at selection?

More of a worry were my or should I say our plans for the afternoon. Only 3 weeks before I had missed one of the greatest comebacks of all time at Etihad when the Crows beat the Kangaroos. We were forced to leave at the 20 minute mark of the last term to make our flight back to Adelaide thus missing the great 6 goal turnaround. I had a bad feeling history was about to repeat itself as myself, the wife and our 3 kids were due to go to some of her friends’ house for dinner at 3-30pm. That’s right 3-30 pm – a great time for kids to play but not a great time to leave a close game of footy. Even more of a worry was that these friends were not interested in sport and have the personalities of wet dishcloths (note to self make sure the wife does not read this).  I started thinking of gameplans:

Wear a beanie to conceal a radio

Pull a sickie (too obvious)

Hope one of the kids falls asleep so I can listen to the end in the car

Get ready really slowly.

The Walkman and beanie seemed like the best option.


It was wet in Melbourne meaning that a tight contest was the most likely scenario. I headed upstairs to the games room to at least watch the first half in peace. Sanderson had promised a fierce opening after last week’s debacle but the Crows delivered the opposite. Richmond were by far the hungrier of the 2 teams tacking and smothering whilst the Crows had no tackles in the first 4 minutes. Even worse was the fact that the Crows coaching staff allowed Deledio to play as a loose man behind the ball and he had 10 uncontested possessions in the first quarter. The Crows’ loose man Matty Jaensch who had played the best part of the season at Sturt unsurprisingly did not have the same impact.  The Tigers went into quarter time with a 19 point lead with Delidio rampant and Reiwoldt and Martin both bagging 2 first quarter majors.

The second term starts and still no tag on Deledio what is going on? Dangerfield is trying hard playing a lone hand almost with support from Sloane and Douglas. There are far too many passengers though.  I feel cheated Sando promised a response but this is insipid and hard to watch. I get a text message from a mate who works at the Crows. He is disgusted and thinks there are problems behind the scenes. Ellis adds 2 majors in the second term and the lead extends to 27 points.

At least I won’t have to worry about missing a close finish. I switch to the Moonee Valley races and watch our quaddie go up in smoke in Leg 2. Didn’t I tell the boys to include Spacecraft? This day keeps getting worse and worse.

The third terms starts with Sanderson promising that Van Berlo will go to Deledio? Only an hour too late. The Crows try hard in the third quarter dominating the contested possessions and the inside 50’s but they miss some easy shots and are unable to penetrate the Richmond defence. Houli, Chaplin and Morris are all having solid games. The quarter is best summed up when Matty Wright takes a mark in front of goal and Vince gives away a free kick off the ball costing the Crows a certain goal. The Tigers lead by 31 pts at 3 quarter time.

We load up our kids and drinks into the car safe in the knowledge that I won’t be missing a close finish. I slip the earphones in anyway to drown out the dulcet tones of Justine Clarke as much as anything. But hang on the Crows kick 2 early last quarter goals through Thompson and Van Berlo and get within 19 points. They did it against North, could they do it again? Any optimism is short lived however. This is not North Melbourne this is a hungry Richmond side desperate to play finals. A miracle snap goal to ex-Crow Maric seals the deal. Season over. The incriminations start. What happened to the side who was a kick away from a Grand Final last year? Why is Sam Jacobs down on form? Why is the midfield not working as hard?  Sanderson says in his press conference the Crows need the pressure of having to win their last 10 games. Who is he kidding?

As I step out of the car and open the boot to head to our dinner engagement my six Pack of Asahi beers roll out of the shopping bag they were in and smash to smithereens on the Norwood pavement just like the Crows season.

RICHMOND 5.2 9.7 11.10 16.14 (110)
ADELAIDE 2.1 5.4 6.10 10.12 (72)

Martin 4, Riewoldt 3, Grigg 2, Ellis 2, Cotchin, Newman, Maric, King, Edwards
Adelaide: Dangerfield 2, Callinan, Jenkins, Lynch, Porplyzia, Jenkins, Thompson, van Berlo, Mackay

Deledio, Riewoldt, Martin, Ellis, Conca, Chaplin, Houli
Adelaide: Dangerfield, Sloane, Porplyzia, Thompson, Rutten

Batchelor (knee soreness) replaced in selected side by Astbury, Astbury (head)
Adelaide: Nil

Matt White replaced David Astbury (head knock) in the third quarter
Adelaide: Ricky Henderson replaced Shaun McKernan in the third quarter.

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Stewart, Meredith

Official crowd: 43,615 at the MCG



Our Votes: 3 Deledio (Rich.) 2 Martin (Rich) 1 Dangerfield (Adel.)


  1. The Wrap says

    I can relate to the smashed six pack Rajesh. As a Long Suffering Punt Road Faithful it’s happened to me a few times since the glory days. You’ll come back, but not before this Christmas.

  2. I can support the tears over the beers and to a point the end of the season for the Crows.
    As for friends or friends of partners who have no interest in sport yet force their company apon you at poor times, they should be loaded up on a plane and sent to another country – un Australian!!!
    All a Crows supporter can look forward to now is booing Tippett at every opportunity.

  3. Jason freer says

    Well written Crows season is shot for sure. Next time take more beers.

  4. Bad day all round. How did Kerridge get dropped? I watch the occasional Crows game, usually in hope of them losing, but was barracking for them against the Tigers. Every game I have seen Kerridge play in, he has done some pretty good things, nay, some very good things. Johncock has been banished to Baghdad by Sando yet in that thrid quarter, they needed someone with a bit of polish to finish off the Crows domination of inside 50’s. He could have been the perfect foil to do the finishing. The Crows are now Gonski and the only thing they have left to look forward to is getting one over their cross-town rivals later in the year.

  5. Heath Moss says

    Great write up there Rajesh. I too feel your pain being a long term Crows member. I sat on my couch watching and waiting for the intensity of the Crows 2012 campaign only to be disappointed once again. I wonder if the Swans really knocked the stuffing and confidence out of us? Until that game, and especially the Freo game, it seemed we were getting back on the right track. Just too many players out of form at the same time, which means we have to ride it through. It will be a hard task from here to make finals but its been done before. I’m an optimist.

  6. Great article Raj – And the weekend got even worse knowing than Johncock who should’ve been in Crows side, kicks the winning goal for Port Magpies and beats the mighty Redlegs at Alberton – a double edged sword.

    P.S: you might want to upgrade from the 80’s Walkman to a wireless bluetooth earpeice that’s connected to your ipod – no wires = less detection ;-)

  7. Chris Harcourt says

    Good article, Raj. Preparation is the key, both in footy and with taking beers to a function. Beers should have been in an esky on ice. For shame on you relying on cheap shopping bags! Crows were under-prepared to match-up on all of Richmond’s “attacking” defenders (Deledio, Houli, Newman), but letting Deledio free was a terrible coaching error. Game over at quarter time once Tigers had their game going. Too few Crows players doing too much. Dangerfield is a gun and I believe he will be the best Crow ever should he remain injury free. If Richmond bank the next 4 games its finals for sure. Defence has really improved and there is much confidence in this group going forward. Full ground pressure and tackling excellent past two games, and Tigers need to bring this every week. At present I cannot see Tuck getting back into this team.

    Crows can start planning for 2014. The coach needs help.

  8. Brad Keighran says

    I like it Raj. All supporters want, is effort. I left the Sydney match at 3/4 time (which was a first for me) as i could no longer bare to watch a great bunch of young men give up so easily against first class opposition.

    As a side note, the crows look physically small against almost all opposition. Perhaps a legacy of Neil Craig and his desire for creating “800m runner” clones.

    Keep writing. I will be reading.

  9. Not the beers!

  10. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Good Stuff Raj v funny and tragic re The Beers agree with Bushy the Richmond tragic that Dangerfield Played 1 of the Greatest Individual games in a losing side and had to get the 3 votes def BOG Bob Neil Norwood

  11. Loved it Rajesh. My recommendation; indoctrinate. Indoctrinate your kids to want to watch and go to the footy, they indoctrinate their friends and so on. Eventually, no competing interests. Simple. (let me know how you go)

  12. For the first time as a Richmond tragic, I saw the team I suppot with more hunger and confidence than the opposition? Trouble in paradise down at West Lakes as they are a just a glimmer of what they were last year. It will only get worse with Tippett up and about this weekend likely to kick 5 showing just how bereft the Crows are now of forward options.
    Raj – your planning is not off, you know games against Richmond in the past are usually over by 3/4 time! Hey, I might just have to be in Melbourne in September. How things change!

  13. Thanks for the feedback. Chris I will pack beers in an esky next time. BG I will invest in a digital radio and Mike D I am working on the kids.

  14. Doyle Smith says

    Outstanding recon and report, son. Great finish with the Asahi beers smashing, seems like the right imagery for the job.
    Richmond were hungrier. Far hungrier. From the first whistle to the last, they wanted the ball around the ground wherever it was.

    Sloane did not play as well as usual, Dangerfield was heavily arrested by three tigers and Thompson looked like a lost boy in the middle for a lot of the day.

    Sure the crows don’t have options up front, but by God once Richmond started to get on top, I wanted some fire to come out. Nil reports? Disgrace. Let them handle it the way Sheedy or Worsfold would have. Tackle someone hard and put him down. Does anyone remember the ’84 GF Dons vs Hawks and Hawks dominated the first quarter and Sheeds told Madden you have to do something. Throw some punches and put the hawks off their game. In todays AFL, hard footy is something that the Victorian Clubs still seem streets ahead of the rest of the clubs.

    That being said, I will still be rooting hard for the Crows this year, and looking forward to Raj Singhs next article. Keep it up!

  15. Good article chilavert. Quite simple crows are not going to win games if you dont have forwards who can kick goals. Tex knee was a massive blow for crows forward line, however nobody has stepped up, to kick goals consistently.

    Kurt has left a hole, mainly in the ruck area, sauce is having a terrible year, and again nobody is stepping up to help him. Maybe angus graham,experienced might as well his contract expires in 2014, nothing to lose.

    Last year all or most of the senior players had stellar performances, how is a young team going to perform when experienced players arnt even standing up, instead playing in the sanfl. The senior players need to pull there fingers out of the asses and step up.

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