AFL Round 4 – Richmond v Collingwood: Burst bubbles at the MCG

The Footy Almanac’s simple, brilliant concept – a game-by-game account of an entire season – also contains its major flaw.  Too many forgettable games.

So let me dispense with the conventional match report quickly.  It was decided in 25 minutes of relentless Collingwood pressure after half time in which they scored eight goals and conceded not one point.

During this time, Richmond players reverted to 2009-10 their rag-doll versions.  Too easily brushed aside, too easily forced into error, too easily persuaded to abandon the game plan for low percentage tactics.

The domineering figure on the day was Travis Cloke.  His monstering of Alex Rance so flustered the Richmond defender that Cloke’s sledge following yet another towering mark provoked a frustrated shove by Rance and a gift 50 metre penalty.  From that point, Cloke’s attitude was infectious and a hitherto even midfield battle quickly became a rout.  The margin blew out to 49 points before Collingwood signalled a retreat, allowing Richmond some late consolation goals and the delusion of adequacy.

That Collingwood was lacking half a dozen of their best players and was able to introduce Dale Thomas off the sub’s bench late in the third quarter with the game already decided, only underscores the gap between these two sides. The Tigers, in form and at virtually full strength, were more than competitive throughout the remainder of the game but this was rendered irrelevant by the Magpies’ sheer unadulterated class and poise when it mattered.

So to some other observations of the day, or perhaps this should be called the “Don’t Hold Back” section.

The beauty of modern, professional sport is that it creates dominant sides like Collingwood that can dispense with lesser opposition in a quick, nicely-packaged highlights reel.  This is perfect for an audience that lacks the attention span to concentrate on a full two hours  and perfect for those insightful thoughts – “Trav turning it on @ the G” – from the Twitterati, which make our lives so much richer.

With the football aspect taken care of between 3.35 – 4.00pm, the challenge for the competing clubs was to “entertain” 82,000 people for the rest of the day.  As the home team, this responsibility fell largely to Richmond and to their credit, they did a fine job, with the generous assistance of their major sponsor, Jeep.

We were treated, pre-game, to some musical numbers from an outfit called “the Potbellies” (an appropriate name given the predominant middle-aged male demographic of the Richmond faithful).  It emerged that the Potbellies’ chief contribution to the Terpsichorean lexicon is a song which, by extraordinary coincidence, is that used by Jeep in its advertisements.

Lest such cross-promotion be too subtle for some, the next distraction was the opportunity for someone in the crowd to actually “Win a Jeep”.  This was duly achieved by a lady dressed in the requisite Richmond merchandise (“new range available from the Tiger Den – open after the game”) and brandishing a placard bearing our sponsor’s slogan.  Well, at least one Richmond fan had a win on the day!

Oh, and I almost forgot the lovely touch of the “jungle beat” of drums that greeted the arrival of the Richmond players onto the arena.  No obvious commercial links here, but rivalling Essendon’s execrable air-raid siren in tackiness.

Collingwood was not to be denied in the gimmick stakes, although their contribution required one to experience the game on pay TV in order to enjoy the full glory of the “Press red for Ed” commentary.

I am not so bitter and twisted as to fail to see the tongue-in-cheek humour of this stunt.  However, I pose the question to Ed: will you be doing it again on Anzac Day?  Mmm…thought not.

The much over-used word “blockbuster” was regularly coined to describe this game during the lead-up.  For Richmond, it was certainly a big opportunity to assert themselves in the competition, hence the marketing hype that the club put into it.

But for Collingwood?  Ho hum, this match was just another day at the office with another 80,000 crowd against another middle-of-the-road side.  So much so that the President decides the Magpie faithful need a bit of light relief in the form of an unashamedly biased call of the game.  That he chose the Richmond game to do it is a non-too-subtle reminder of the disdain with which the top teams like Collingwood still treat the Tigers.  Unfortunately, in a short burst, Richmond proved why such disdain is still justified.

Richmond:      3.3       6.5       8.6       11.13 (79)

Collingwood:   1.4       5.8       13.12   16.17 (113)


Rich: Riewoldt 3, McGuane 2, Vickery 2, King, Maric, Edwards, Houli

Coll: Cloke 7, Sidebottom 4,  Elliott, Swan, Dwyer, O’Brien, Clarke


Collingwood: Cloke, Swan, Sidebottom, Pendlebury, O’Brien, Shaw, Fasolo.

Richmond: Cotchin, Houli, Jackson, Deledio, Riewoldt.

Umpires: Meredith, Mollison, Rosebury.

Crowd: 81,950

My votes:  Cloke 3, Swan 2, Sidebottom 1



About Sam Steele

50 years a Richmond supporter. Enjoying a bounteous time after 37 years of drought. Should've been a farmer!


  1. Cheryl Critchley says

    Great summary Sam. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I was going to do a report on this game but was so disheartened I couldn’t put pen to paper. Same old, same old. We should stop concentrating on gimmicks like jungle drums and just win the bloody games!!! We have shown some improvement which is great, but yesterday showed that we do have a long way to go.

  2. Just think how much better the press red for Ed would have been If I was on the panel! Girl can dream :p

  3. Lord Bogan says

    The specter of Jack Dyer: the source of and solution to all of Richmond’s problems.

    ” It emerged that the Potbellies’ chief contribution to the Terpsichorean lexicon is a song which, by extraordinary coincidence, is that used by Jeep in its advertisements.”

    Brilliant work Stainless.

  4. I was very nervous @ half time coz I new Richmond should have been 4 goals in front, but had shown too much respect to the opposition. Then a 20 minute burst by a more seasoned team decided it. What some Richmond supporters who get ahead of themselves need to remember is that the aim is to make the 8, & 8th will do. I can tell you this, Richmond is well and truly on target to achieve that. Next up Freo

  5. Stephen Cooke says

    Stainless, I couldn’t believe it when I saw the crowd at training on Thursday and a band! I imagine there was a sausage sizzle as well.
    It reminded me of the old news shots of Hawthorn’s last training before a grand final in the 80s – but it was round 4.
    Getting ahead of themselves? Maybe just a little.

  6. Stephen Cooke says

    On another note, I tipped 8 out of 9 this weekend. Who did I get wrong? Richmond. I blame myself.

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