AFL Round 5 – Fremantle v Richmond: An all too familiar tale

The game is over and it is an all too familiar tale. Head in hands, lost for words and deeply gutted. To lose a game by a solitary point leaves one to immediately ponder the what if scenarios, not me.  I leave nothing to the imagination as I storm out the lounge room and straight into bed, like a shattered child who would wake up Christmas morning and find potatoes under the tree. Interestingly enough both those things had happened before, definitely the Richmond losses but also the potatoes.

Rushing home from work to watch the foot , probably speeding and flirting with the amber lights in the process just to see the first bounce . Car rolls into the driveway like a Rolls Royce (aka Trent Cotchin) , doors thrusted open and straight to the couch i go. It seemed like the dream was living up to reality mid way through the first quarter, as the Tigers stormed away to a twenty point lead thanks to some midfield brilliance. But a nightmare was closing in as Freo worked their way back into the game and completely dominated the next two quarters and should have been further ahead at three quarter time. Ross Lyon’s familiar stranglehold consumed Richmond for two and a half quarters, but the scene was set mid way through the last quarter for a Tiger revival. And then the nightmare manifested itself into the form of a goal umpire and Hayden Ballaytne.

The game is down to the wire, Fremantle a finger nail in front and the scene is set for a make or break loss. Enter the journey towards heart failure, a running Matt White shot at goal spirals past the outstretched leg of Ty Vickery and into the leg of the goal umpire. The nightmare had climaxed with such bewildering acts, firstly the act of the goal umpire who most likely deprived Matt White the goal and secondly the inaction of the field umpire to call a review. It seemed as if the footy world was conspiring against Richmond, who managed to hit the lead soon after with a Matt White finish ironically from the same spot as earlier. But irony would come back to haunt Richmond, who again gave up the lead and the match with barely a minute remaining. Momentary reprieve from the nightmare into the dream did not last, which sums up a Richmond game of football.

To lose the game by one point is perhaps the worst feeling in the world. I could not fall asleep that night, pondering what if this and what if that constantly. I could only imagine what was going through Dimma Hardwick’s mind as he stared at the ceiling of his hotel room. After the game he was furious with the lack of a goal review and called it a ‘joke,’ but ironically, Dimma would be goal-umpire for an under 10‘s game the day after. I was sharing Dimma’s agony, staring at he digits of my alarm clock as they trickled over and over. Funnily enough it felt like the night before Christmas as a kid, only that it was disappointment and not excitement that was keeping me up. One does not understand the troubles of a Richmond supporter.

Perhaps the dream of finals football still lived on, that Richmond had indeed improved and were now matching it with the best in the competition. The morning after the game rendered a positive outlook on the game, in contrast to the anger I whacked my head against the pillow with the night before. There were no presents from Santa but there was hope. That the Tigers were able to defensively cope in such a finals like stranglehold of a game, without arguably their two most important defenders in Chaplin and Morris. That the Richmond midfield soldiered on without the impact of Brett Deledio and having Trent Cotchin one one leg for a half , as well as the absence of Tuck, Conca and Foley. Richmond were not yet a finals side, but they were a finals contender, and unfortunate circumstances and an unlucky Ballatyne winner had cost them a season defining win.


FREMANTLE        2.0    7.5   10.8    12.9 (81)

RICHMOND          5.2    7.3    9.5      12.8 (80)


Fremantle: Ballantyne 4, Mayne 3, Walters 2, Crowley, Hill, Suban

Richmond: Knights 3, Vickery 3, McGuane 2, Riewoldt, Grigg, Martin, White



Fremantle: Barlow, Ballantyne , McPharlin,  Fyfe, Walters

Richmond: Cotchin, Martin, Knights, Edwards, Vickery, Houli

Official crowd: 36,365 at Patersons Stadium


Our Votes: 3 Mc Pharlin (Frem), 2 Cotchin (Rich), 1 Ballatyne (Frem)


  1. I remember round 13 1999 at Subiaco Oval when with seconds to go St Shane Parker’s kick-in was marked by Ben Hollands. Remember him? Not Ben Holland. Ben Hollands, he played eight games. Hollands kicked a goal and the Tigers won by one point.

    The point is I’m almost over it. Give it 10 or 12 years Dom and Friday night will be a distant memory

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