AFL Round 18 – Sydney v Richmond: Persecution and Richmond

Ty Vickery is carted off the SCG on a stretcher in a neck brace. But, you guessed it, Richmond hasn’t even scored a free kick. Such is life when you’re on the road against the reigning premiers during a game in which your team can’t take a trick.

It had started pretty well on this balmy winter’s early evening in the Harbour City. Richmond was competitive early, kicking the first two goals via Matt White and Vickery and then matching it with the Swans to be 5.3 apiece at the first break. The Tigers then kicked four more goals for the rest of the game to Sydney’s 10. They were simply too big, too strong and too skilled.

Not to mention those home crowd free kicks. They didn’t affect the result but Richmond couldn’t buy a decision and after Vickery left the ground horizontal, the ball was thrown in. As we languished in the lone SCG bay containing Tiger fans, it reminded me of when Richo had his eye socket fractured and, you guessed it, didn’t get a free.

Persecution and Richmond go hand in hand. The thousand or so Tigers who had made the effort were up against it before the first bounce; ground renovations saw the cheer squad shoved from its rightful spot behind the goals into the pocket.

Then, God forbid, a woman decked out in Carlton gear plonked herself smack bang in the middle of its supposedly exclusive area. “Don’t worry, you beat us,” was all she could offer as she pushed her way past bemused Tigers. Rubbing salt into the wound, when Richmond fans surrounded on all sides by a sea of red and white chanted, Swans supporters gave it back twice as loud.

On the field, among others Kurt Tippett and Jesse White carved us up. Whenever Dustin Martin or Trent Cotchin moved the ball forward, Sydney intercepted like it was taking candy from a baby. Riewoldt was handy and Shane Tuck tried hard in his first game back from injury before being subbed. But the Swans shut the gate with four unanswered goals in the third term, three by Jesse White and one from Kieren Jack, who also gave us pantsing.

Frustrated Richmond barrackers were reduced to hurling half-hearted insults after yet another home crowd free. “What about his back you green maggot,” one guy yelled when a push was ignored. Added my cousin Kate: “If you’re going to be shit, be consistently shit for both teams.”

It was like old times for Kate and I, who went to the footy together in the 80s and 90s after I brainwashed her and her sister Rebecca, condemning them to a life of yellow and black hell. Now living in Sydney, Kate hasn’t seen Richmond beat the Swans since we last won there in 2004. I’m still saving for the inevitable psychologist bills.

Our group included my husband Brian, daughters Jess and Bec (son Ben wisely opted to play trains with his toddler cousin) and my brother Paul, a Hawks fan who thankfully left his jumper at home and donned a Richmond scarf.  Before the game we met Kate’s partner Kris, their baby Joey and my friend Steve in the nearby entertainment precinct, which was abuzz with footy fans. The key to attending an interstate game you’re never going to win is combining it with a good catch up. Staying with Paul, wife Laura and their kids Alice, Nicholas and Thomas, who’d moved to Sydney in January, was the perfect distraction.

Others had no time for such luxuries. Richmond Cheer Squad chairman Gerard Egan, who organised our tickets, attends 3-4 interstate games a year. Transporting squad members, banners and floggers is a military style operation. Gerard works out who is flying and driving and who can carry what, prioritising the non-negotiables.

“Run-through is always number one, which includes the sponsors’ sleeves and rope back,” he says. “There is a set of poles at most venues for visiting clubs … so we don’t have to worry about these. Then it’s flags, patties (small pom pom[CAC1]  streamers on sticks) and floggers (longer streamers on sticks) depending on capacity.”

Up to 40 of the squad’s 600-plus members travel to Perth and about 100 to Sydney and Adelaide. Gerard usually spends $400 travelling to Sydney for the day and occasionally even gets his money’s worth, like a 1980s match when Warwick Capper kicked eight but Richmond won by less than a goal.

You literally float home from a game like that, regardless of the cost. This time, however, the $1000 we coughed up might have been better spent on torture equipment.

But our 2013 disappointment was nothing compared to Gerard’s nightmare trip north a couple of years back when his flights to Sydney were delayed due to fog, only to see the Tigers smashed in the rain and his return flights cancelled courtesy of volcanic ash cloud. “We ended up getting the last hire car at the airport and driving home that night,” he says.

Could someone please bottle his blood now?


SYDNEY SWANS   5.3    8.7   13.10    16.14 (110)

RICHMOND             5.3    6.4    8.7         9.9 (63)



Sydney Swans: White 4, Tippett 3, Mitchell 2, K. Jack 2, Lamb, B. Jack, Pyke, Smith, Bolton

Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Martin 2, Conca, Jackson, Vickery, White



Sydney Swans: White, O’Keefe, Tippett, Jack, Mitchell, Bird, McVeigh

Richmond: Martin, Riewoldt, Cotchin, Jackson, Grigg,


UMPIRES: Stevic, Stewart, Meredith   CROWD:  29,738


OUR VOTES White (Swans) 3, O’Keefe (Swans)  2, Tippett (Swans), 1.

 [CAC1]Not sure if we need these explanations.What do you think? Feel free to remove if needed.


  1. Had a good run with crowd free kicks last last week though Cheryl. Those free kicks resulting in goals to Vickery and Cotchin – both blatant dives – in the final minutes of the third quarter were pretty handy…

  2. Cheryl Critchley says

    We probably did Smithy. I reckon the home team usually gets a better run, especially against interstate teams. Most notable has been West Coast in recent years. I guess it’s only natural but it is annoying.

  3. The Wrap says

    We’re a long way from the top Cheryl, but I’m pleased with what we’ve produced thus far this season. We’ve got some glaring gaps in defence & attack. Gaps to be filled with falls. And we need a mobile follower.

    Sorry to see Arnot out for the season. There’s a bit of game time he could have built up. Solid sort of a bloke, eh?

    Sure it was a belting, but it won’t do us any harm. And I’m sure you had a good time up in Steak & Kidney. The test will be how we bounce back against The Hawks.

    Eat ’em alive Tigers!!!

  4. Cheryl Critchley says

    We had a ball – the result was just a bit of a downer :-). We’re a long way from Sydney but we’re still hopeful of finals action. I didn’t mention that again because I don’t want to jinx us. As long as we can beat Brisbane and GWS we’re in, but then again it is Richmond… :-)

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