AFL Round 4 – Richmond v Collingwood: A pleasant Saturday arvo at the ‘G

One has to hand it to the masochistic Tiger hordes who’ve stuck fat over three decades of cellar dwelling, false dawns and ninthdom.  And here we are again in April 2013, the jungle drums building to another premature crescendo.

Three solid wins over middling to piddling opposition might not sound much, but on the back of a gradually improving seasonal ledger and media luminaries such as Hutchy predicting a top 4 finish, then hell, what’s not to get excited about?

Despite deep seated psychological scars owing to the horror that was the 1980 Grand Final (furious 6yo me tore up KB’s footy card into iddy biddy pieces), it’s hard to hate a genuine football club with genuine football supporters.  Certainly those armed with self-deprecating senses of humour exemplified by Mick Molloy, an archetypal Tigers fan if ever there was one.

Close to game time the Punt Road end was chock-full of true believers.  It reminded me of my own mob on a Grand Final day; pale faces rigid with justified apprehension.  A pang of empathy was erased by another flashback to poor Stan Magro being made the fool by the wiry, wispy haired little rat.  Bah, on second thoughts, stuff ‘em alive those Tigers!  Time to get outta there and join my own bogan brethren at the Ponsford end.

Richmond began as if rising to the challenge of their ‘biggest game in 30 years’, meanwhile, to their detriment, the Magpies started like it was Round 4. Riewoldt channelled Roach in the number 8 guernsey and hauled in a ripper pack mark. Gradually Collingwood found intensity but under pressure neither team located their kicking boots, best illustrated by a Graeme Allenesque kick-in from the back pocket which found Maric dead in front, who duly fluffed the shot.

The second term improved as a spectacle, goals traded several times with the lead.  Collingwood’s forward threat was counterbalanced by a backline prone to flakiness.  Worringly, Reid and Brown are down to one and a half good legs between them. At least Shaw had engaged his brain today.

After the first half’s ebb and flow, Swan, Pendlebury, O’Brien, Shaw et al called on seven years worth of getting the job done on the big stage, slicing through Richmond with their run and spread. In between Sidebottom slipping under the opposition’s guard, as he does, Cloke monstered Rance at every opportunity. With an eye towards ANZAC Day, Bucks cannily used an undercooked Dale Thomas as his sub, twisting the knife in the latter stages of the goal-fest by unleashing the ace up his sleeve. Alas, Lynch’s sloppy goal inducing turnover, followed by another Tiger major before the orange break, stemmed the haemorrhaging.

A once 49 point gap was slashed to 22 when Richmond nailed a couple more, breathing life into their old school accumulation of yellow and black flogs and floggers.  Three goals was a reasonable return for Riewoldt, not aided by supply shortages and Vickery and Petterd’s inability to provide the level of support and structure that Lynch affords Cloke and the ‘Pies.  And like most Magpie small men, Swan also boasts enviable strength overhead, enabling Caro’s favourite gossip topic to appropriately snuff out her beloved Tiges’ revival.  Several Richmond aficionados kindly offered Travis goal kicking tips as he lined up alongside the fence, outside the arc, on his wrong side. Cloke’s colossal kick split the sticks and he duly thanked his rabid advisors. They’re great comic value Richmond fans.

Surprisingly, the finest Cloke to pull on the monochrome stripes had never bagged 7 before. Besides Trav’s career best form, as two inspired acts of recycling, the omnipresent old Clydesdales Lynch and Hudson have invigorated the side.

The Tigers? One can only speculate, but the many glum diehards I saw staring down at the Jolimont platform were probably mulling over how much longer Jack, Cotch and Deledio will be waiting for the requisite support crew to be bona fide contenders. And whether Dustin Martin cuts his own hair.

Collingwood             1.4       5.8       13.12               16.17.113
Richmond                  3.3       6.5           8.6                 11.13.79
Collingwood; Cloke 7, Sidebottom 4, Elliott, Clarke, O’Brien, Swan, Dwyer
Richmond; Riewoldt 3, McGuane 2, Vickery 2, Edwards, King, Houli, Maric
Collingwood; Cloke, Swan, Sidebottom, Hudson, Pendlebury, Lynch, Clarke
Richmond; Cotchin, Deledio, Maric, Houli

Umpires: Rosebury, Meredith, Mollison

Crowd: 81,950

Papa Cloke Medal
T. Cloke          3
Swan               2
Sidebottom    1

About Jeff Dowsing

Washed up former Inside Sport and Sunday Age Sport freelancer. Now just giving my stuff away to good homes. Not to worry, still have my health and day job. Published & unpublished works fester on my blog Write Line Fever.


  1. You did the same to us last year Jeff, blast us away with 20 minutes of pressure football. We’ll learn from that. Surely.

  2. Fantastic report Jeff. Nothing like being with our bogan brethren at the Ponsford end. That 1980 Kevin Bartlett footy card you ripped uo probably worth quite a bit these days!

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