Round 5 – Richmond v Melbourne: Twenty-Two Tigerish Tigers Tigerishly Tigering

The MCG is silent, but for a few idiots in the bars. The Last Post is ringing around the stadium, chilling spines, bring tears to half-shut eyes. It’s dark, other than the roof lights and the phone torches held up by most of the 85,000-strong crowd.


I can barely see the outlines of the players, near the flickering light of the eternal flame.


The silence is greater and louder than any roar, and there’s a few of those to come.


I can’t remember a scene like this since the Port Adelaide v Collingwood game in 2015. On that occasion the crowd stood with their phone torches aloft in the darkness to honour Phil Walsh, while Lanterns by Birds of Tokyo played.


The anthem blares. The Old Man, the Older Sister and I are on Level 1 (unusual for us). When the anthem stops and the roar erupts, it’s on top of us, inescapable.


I feel like the ANZACs deserve to stay in our thoughts for longer but there’s no time for reflection left here. I hope everyone in the crowd takes more time to think come the morning.


My four and oh Tigers start in an un-tigerish manner. Or at least, un-tigerish by this season’s standards.


The Demons aren’t hurting us, though.


When Jack snaps on his left and then snaps on his right, I wish I could believe that Melbourne are shite. But I’m not delusional. They’re all over us early. We can’t get it past halfway.


This is the theme of the first-half. Melbourne just look the better side.


The headbanded figure of Jayden Hunt is everywhere – where’s he come from?!


This Petracca is as just as good as they say.


The unmistakable bald head of Nathan Jones is bobbing up here, there and everywhere. I’m sure it’s been said before, but he might just be Melbourne’s version of Voldemort.


Meanwhile, Jack Watts is changing the game with his versatility. He’s playing as an extra midfielder in the wet conditions.


Meanwhile, our centre-half forward, the lumbering Todd Elton, is doing Jack Diddly Squat.


Our saving grace, once again, is an opponent failing to capitalise on their possession. This isn’t just luck.


We’re comfortably the best defence in the league in terms of points conceded. Melbourne are struggling for efficiency going forward, like West Coast and Collingwood have in previous weeks. Their also shooting from angles more often than not.


We’re wounded, but not fatally.


“Nothin’ more Tigerish than a bloody Tiger, a wounded Tiger” – Tom Hafey


When Grigg goals right on half-time, I can hardly believe we’re only a kick behind.


There is hope. The rain has lightened. We’re still in touch. We just need to be cleaner with the footy.


After the Auskickers have had their fun, we’re back out and still in a spot of bother. Melbourne kick the first two goals and I feel like we’re flirting with the end. But, by this point, Watts is rucking and Spencer is off the ground.


The shift in Watts’ role is as important as the rotation Melbourne are missing.


Things start to shift our way. We’ve finally managed to lock the ball in our half. Our Jack kicks a goal to steady us, to remind people we’re still here, and he is too.


What happens next is an almighty kick in the guts. Melbourne kick two goals, straight out of the the middle, in the space of a minute. On the scoreboard, it undoes all our good work.


We’re 20 points down at the final change, but the way the game has shifted leaves me hopeful. I’m certainly as hopeful as a man can be when he’s wearing the Yellow and Black at the MCG and his side are trailing.


The hope grows when the Old Man tells me Melbourne are actually down two men, not just one.


The final quarter is a blur – of Riewoldt and Rioli; of Yellow and Black; and of Demons disappearing.


Jack kicks his fifth early.


Dusty misses on the run but when Rioli marks close to goal, I can’t watch. The eruption of noise at the Punt Road End tells the story.


It’s all one-way traffic, but we still have to hold our nerve.


Dusty puts us within a point with a beautiful crumbing goal. Rioli levels the scores with a behind.


And then we stay level, with bated breath, for much longer than I’d hoped. The scores sit tied on 73, 74 and 75.


God, please make it stop. Jack seems to have assumed that role and he kicks an absolute screamer from just inside the boundary on a silly angle to give us the lead.


When Caddy kicks the sealer, I can’t quite believe it. Jack has six. We’re five and zero. How good is this?


As we walk along the Yarra in the pouring rain after the game (searching for food), the Old Man makes his declaration.


“It feels different this time.”


I tend to agree with him. The Tiger might finally be stirring, rather than just waking up to roll over and assume a more comfortable sleeping position.


On to Adelaide…


It’s a free hit. No one expects us to win. A relaxing weekend is finally in store!


But then again – I don’t mind our chances…


RICHMOND       3.1    6.6    7.11    12.16    (88)                 
MELBOURNE    3.4    7.6
    11.7    11.9      (75)

Votes: J.Riewoldt 3, D.Martin 2, J.Watts 1

Riewoldt 6, Castagna, Butler, Grigg, Rioli, Martin, Caddy
Melbourne: Hogan 3, Garlett 2, McDonald, Watts, Petracca, Salem, Hibberd, Hunt

 Riewoldt, Nankervis, Martin, Houli, Grigg, Caddy, Cotchin
Melbourne: Oliver, Hibberd, Watts, Hunt, N Jones, Petracca

Melbourne: Petracca (left knee), Spencer (right shoulder/right knee), Smith (ribs), Viney (right knee)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, Fisher, Stevic

Official crowd: 85,657 at the MCG








About Jack Banister

Journalism student @ Melbourne Uni, Brunswick Hockey Club Men's Coach, tortured Tigers fan.


  1. Your old man might be onto something; it does feel different. After the past few years of watching Richmond’s putrid game style, the 2017 Tigers are a pleasure to watch.

  2. I’m especially liking the title.

  3. Paddy Grindlay says

    That title is just magnificent. As is the post as well mind you.

    Go Tiges. It does feel different this time around.

  4. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    Tigerishly tiggering (double G) could also work … with all that positivity!
    Said from an Eeyore in Sydney.
    Lovely account Jack.

  5. Michael Viljoen says

    What did you think of the ‘rushed’ behind call made against Astbury?

  6. JBanister says

    Michael – as it is written, the decision was correct for mine.
    But I think it’s worth a re-think of the wording of that rule. Astbury wasn’t under pressure, because the Dee’s player backed off, but he was right to assume he was still being chased.

    If the opposition doesn’t also act in a reasonable/natural manner (I.e. shepherds the ball out of play, or backs off to not apply pressure) I don’t think we should be paying a free kick. It’s not a hard clause to add and it would solve a portion of the issue I reckon.

  7. Michael Viljoen says

    Some umpires would pay it, some wouldn’t. The wording of the rule is the problem. But it’s no use tinkering with something that’s essentially flawed.

    Vague, nebulous words like “pressure”, “deliberate”, “insufficient intent” do not belong in a rule book, unless we employ umpires skilled in clairvoyance and mind reading.

    We need to throw the rule in the bin and start again.

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