AFL Round 5 – Brisbane v Richmond: The Gift of the Gabba



The experts tell us that bullies are primarily motivated by low self-esteem. Whether it’s through the experience of having won only one from four or simply because I have a nasty streak, I’m hoping that Richmond will savage a weakened Brisbane tonight.

All the signs look positive. The Lions haven’t won a game and are coming off a 113-point drubbing at the hands of Port Adelaide. They haven’t won a quarter of football all year. The Tigers haven’t lost at the Gabba since 2004, having prevailed on the last five occasions they’ve strolled in through the Vulture Street entrance. The Lions are grossly undermanned. They are missing Rich, Beams, Hanley, Leuenberger, McGrath and Staker, with Daniel Merrett serving the second of a two-match suspension. There are seven teenagers in the team tonight and seven who have played ten games or less. I haven’t even heard of half of their line-up. On the negative from the visitors’ point of view, the Lion King Jonathan Brown is playing his 250th game and the cubs serving alongside him will do everything possible to help him celebrate in style.

What follows hardly makes for riveting television. The game is littered with errors. Riewoldt strikes  in the first minute, Richmond dominates the first term but squanders opportunities to put the Lions away. Brisbane players crowd the stoppages and attempt to minimise scoring. The Tigers search for  exits along the open flanks and chip pass to each other before giving in to boredom and kicking long to Riewoldt anyway. The young Lions drop marks, fumble and spray kicks out on the full as you would expect of such an inexperienced combination. The Tigers, who should know better, are only marginally less culpable. Brisbane scores its first major when Brown converts in the second term. They generate some excitement and actually win their first quarter of the year by outscoring the Tigers by five points.

Then it’s crisis time at Punt Road. The hosts boot the first three goals of the second half through Lester, Brown and Taylor and inexplicably take the lead at the 12-minute mark of the third term. Richmond’s season looks like going down the drain even before they take on the might of Hawthorn and Geelong. The woes of Mick Malthouse and the Carlton Football Club are about to be disappear from the sports pages to make way for stinging editorials on Richmond’s latest humiliation.

Key players have been criticised for “not standing up” when the team is challenged. Tonight a number of them do. Cotchin has found the going a bit easier after the mauling he received at the hands of Collingwood’s Brett Macaffer. Because Macaffer’s tactics were so heavily scrutinised in the media no-one is going to try for a repeat performance tonight. Cotchin activates the Tigers by linking up with teammates through the midfield. Newman sweeps effectively across half back and wins a series of pivotal contests. Riewoldt marks strongly and boots two within a minute and the Tigers regain the lead. Cotchin snaps truly from a crush of players at a stoppage. Arnot and Petterd add a couple more to make it five in eight minutes and the Tigers are as good as home before the final break.

The last quarter makes for more relaxed viewing. Shane Edwards finds some form and substitute Nathan Gordon chimes in with three goals. As far as 43-point wins go, you take the four points but this is about as convincing as an email from Nigeria informing me that I’ve come into some money.

Back in my schooldays it was one thing to play Cathedral College or St. Joe’s North Melbourne in the footy. We knew we were harder than them. But it was quite another matter if you ran into the boys from Broadmeadows West Tech in the subway by the railway station.

While they might have beaten up a bunch of kids in Queensland, I fear that the Tigers will find themselves in a spot of bother at the hands of Hawthorn and Geelong in their next two games.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Good honest realistic summary , John ( love the Nigeria line ) Richmond by foot have been terrible so far this seasoncan it suddenly improve by next week we wait and see
    Thanks John

  2. hmmm well ok it certainly was not great but were we that bad really? i thought it was a gutsy win a long way from home in quite difficult conditions. yes we should have been ahead by six goals at quarter time and then went to sleep for a while there, but was that partly because they didn’t challenge us much? and we responded well to the lions hitting the front. the new forward structure seems promising with dusty and jack and the new bloke lloyd we can do some damage i reckon. dusty is mercurial in the forward line. i am secretly glad they left vickers out. have we persisted too long with him? mind you i felt the same way about griffiths and astbury and now they seem to be coming right. but maybe vickers is just a bit lazy? with rance coming back soon and maric, i am not sure we have room for another tall in the side. i am yet to be convinced by hampson but he shows a bit more run than vickery! anyway we shall see… we usually play well against the hawks and if we can beat them and give the cats a decent run for their money, we will all be feeling a lot more like we can be contenders this year.

  3. John

    Couldn’t agree more. Settled in at a mate’s place for a rare boy’s night watching the game and we went from happy to shock to outright laughter in two quarters. Truly an awful game to watch, in what, despite some dew, didn’t seem to be poor conditions. I can’t remember laughing so much at a Richmond game, at least since the Melbourne tanking match in which we won with a goal after the siren. Despite our recent good record against the Hawks, I also fear we picked a bad week to get them coming off a loss

    Great piece, also loved the Nigerian line


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