AFL Round 20 – Richmond v Essendon: Keep it simple

Pho Bo.

Two magical words.

Vietnam’s national dish.

Sure it may officially translate into ‘beef noodle soup’, but as far as I’m concerned I know that true meaning: Oh-my-lord-this-is-delicious-get-in-my-belly-immediately. However, according to Google Translate this would look something like: “Ôi chúa này là get ngon trong b?ng c?a tôi ngay l?p t?c”. A tad long for the menu perhaps…

There’s a certain joy to eating street food in Vietnam that can’t be replicated in a kitchen or restaurant back home. It’s easy too.

Pick a street – any street – be it in Nha Trang, Saigon, Hanoi, Hue or Da Lat. Walk for five minutes. Select which ever small establishment best meets your hygiene requirements. Looking for a menu? Good luck – they only serve one dish.

Three minutes later, you have a bowl of a dirt-cheap ($1), super-fresh (literally made in front of you) authentic combination of broth, noodles, beef, bean sprouts, chillis, and other assorted garnishes steaming in front of you.

It’s simple. It works. It’s amazing.

I should know – I’ve eaten enough of it in the last three weeks to last me two or three lifetimes.

Naturally I also assumed an Essendon win would be a simple occurrence against Richmond.

After all, AFL is a simple sport.

Win the ball, hit a target inside-50, kick goals, and the four points is coming your way.

For Essendon, victory would almost have shored up our spot in the eight and put to rest the Tiger’s slim hopes once and for all.

All they needed to do was tick enough boxes in the checklist and the rest was surely inevitable.

Now, I happened to be on an island in the middle of Halong Bay on a ‘Castaway Tour’ at the time this game was being played.

This of course meant zero WiFi, and zero access to the game.

So returning on Sunday to ‘civilization’ meant a check of the statistics.

More possessions: Check (366-328)

More contested ball: Double check (127-118)

More Inside-50’s: Keep ticking (57-45)

More marks Inside-50: Yup (17-10)

More hit-outs, enabling our midfielders first use of the ball: Ya-ha (43-28)

The result?

Oh wait.


Turns out Richmond might be onto something. The stupendous late-season surge towards finals lives on. Tigerland is roaring.

It’s times like this I’m glad I don’t have the normal round-the-clock coverage of AFL overseas. It allows for a much calmer reaction to a loss.

Heck, watching the game would’ve had me screaming and shouting at the TV like a deranged acid-freak on a bad comedown from all accounts.

Instead, I can shake it off more easily.

Pick a street in Hanoi – any street…….

RICHMOND     1.2       7.4       9.8       14.11 (95)
ESSENDON     3.2       6.4       8.7       11.11 (77)
Richmond: Deledio 2, Gordon 2, Riewoldt 2, Edwards 2, Ellis, Griffiths, Houli, Cotchin, Martin, Maric
Essendon: Chapman 2, Carlisle 2, Melksham 2, Dell’olio, Goddard, Z.Merrett, Windlerlich, Heppell
Richmond: Miles, Ellis, Edwards, Rance, Chaplin, Maric, Cotchin, Martin
Essendon: Heppell, Zaharakis, Chapman, Hooker

About Sam Laffy

Thirty-something year-old Essendon supporter. Winning the flag in 2000 when I was 12 was supposed to kick off a dynasty I could boast about for years. Still waiting for that 17th flag.....

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