AFL Round 19 – Hawthorn v Richmond: See ya in September!



There is a certain financial advisor who writes in his regular newspaper columns of the importance of keeping a ‘mojo account’. It’s a sum of money equivalent to three month’s pay reserved in a high interest account for a rainy day. Today the Tigers are meeting ladder leaders Hawthorn on a freezing cold afternoon with the certain expectation of rain. The Hawks demolished  Essendon last weekend in a formidable display of power football. As much as I believe in the boys I give Richmond little chance today and am hoping instead for them to have a go, be competitive and retain as much percentage as possible. While it’s true that we ambushed Hawthorn last year and ran away with a stunning 62-point win I can’t see us getting away with it today. It could be payback time for the rampaging Hawks. How are we going to counter the deadly triumvirate of Franklin, Roughead and Gunston, which booted a total of fourteen majors against the Bombers?

But we have a few wins in the bank. Eleven of them actually, most of them over struggling rivals lower than us on the table and we need only a couple more to guarantee a spot in the finals. We don’t have to get the four points today and can surely rely on vanquishing the Lions and the Giants in coming weeks to land safely in sixth or seventh spot. After twelve years of absence from September action I reckon that’s as good as it gets. Maybe we can even win a final.

I’m feeling comfortable. Warm enough in a yellow and black jacket, scarf, black beanie and limited expectations. The grandstand roof should keep the rain away and I have my plastic jacket in club colours should the rain turn horizontal. Richmond begins brightly. When Newman runs onto a delightful long range pass from Riewoldt to score late in the first term the Tigers are up by 22 points. At least we’re not being blown away.

I grow a little concerned in the second quarter. The Tigers dictate terms for ten minutes or so but are unable to counter the Hawthorn defensive pressure. Are they taking our best shot? 250-gamer Brent Guerra accepts a pass from Burgoyne and goals to put the Hawks up by a point late in the half. It appears as though they are grinding their way to an inevitable victory. The roar that greets Guerra’s major has that assured, guttural quality that comes when fans of the top sides know that order is being restored. The Tigers remain goalless for the quarter.

The deficit becomes eight points soon after the resumption when rookie big man Jonathan Ceglar marks strongly and converts for his first goal in the big time. But then a funny thing happens. Matt White boots the Tigers’ first goal in a quarter and a half of football. It starts to rain. Foley snaps truly before Martin lets fly with a shot outside fifty and we have two more. The Hawk s’ main weapons are yet to fire. The Tigers are a chance and hold a handy three -goal lead at the final break.

Then Jack conjures a goal out of nothing when he soccers it through early in the last quarter. That’s five unanswered goals and Richmond barrackers are daring to believe. There is a rising level of intensity in the stands and it becomes more pronounced each time Richmond scores. And the goals  keep coming. Six-pointers to Tuck, Jackson, Edwards and White. The stars have all aligned. Big scalp? This one big enough? Rance is all over Franklin. Roughead has his face on the cover of the AFL Record but is blanketed by Chaplin and has little impact in the ruck. Gunston is firing blanks. Hodge can’t get into the game, even when Clarkson shifts him into the middle. Rioli wouldn’t get a game today in the Scotch College second eighteen. And it’s not just Cotchin, Martin and Deledio flying the flag. Ellis, Conca and Vlastuin are hurling themselves into the fray and reducing their more fancied opponents to mediocrity.

“See ya in September!” yells one happy Tiger fan to a departing flight of Hawks.

“Yeah. We will – for once.”

A clever response and quite appropriate. Richmond and Hawthorn have never met in a final in the 88 years they have competed against each other in VFL/AFL.

“You’re a happy man,” remarks the lady next to me. She’s a Carlton supporter keeping company with her Hawthorn husband.

Indeed I am. Some days it all turns out the way you hope it will. My wife and son chose to stay home and watch it on telly. But I braved the elements, rugged up in the colours and turned up with thousands of other partisans to join in the spree.

I’ve thought of everything. I even brought my wife’s small umbrella for the anticipated downpour on the walk to Jolimont Station after the game. And it has a leopard skin pattern, sort of like a Tiger.

Mojo account? Who needs it? We’ve banked another win today. It’s like we’ve discovered a long lost superannuation fund and have accessed it just before the government gets its hands on it.

Yep, the Tigers are right on the money.


  1. One for the true believers John. Eat em alive Tigers.

  2. Prepared to fly home if we are in the prelim and will stay a week- ohh if only- but we are there abouts in sept- thanks John!

  3. Richard Naco says

    People like you, John Green, absolutely deserve to live and breathe the ecstasy of wins like this, and of the breaking of droughts such as Richmond’s. I may support another team, but I can deny you and your fellow faithful absolutely nothing.

    Kudos to a true Tigers’ fan (come hell or high water).

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