AFL Round 6 – Richmond v Geelong: The cave of no return

Score a footy and Cats gear

Score a footy and Cats gear

“Look- It’s the cave of no return.”

“Yes I know. I’ve been there before.”

One of my rare talents as a younger man was the ability to recite The D-Generation’s Satanic Sketches off by heart. Like most talents Gen Xers have perfected it is of little real world application….Except when a moment comes along that my brain recognises as the opportunity its been waiting for to raid the archives. Saturday night was identified by my cerebral cortex immediately as the cave of no return for the Tigers. In American parlance it’s the moment they become a 500 team. After a three win start, three losses have brought the faithful back to earth- Here we go again lads, strap yourselves in for another wasted campaign. At this point finals are a trace memory. “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true. Or is it something worse?” Preach on Brooce, my brain suggests you could make it as a Richmond man.

This is not the end of the season for Richmond- That would be crazy talk six rounds into a season that has yet to unfurl itself; but the way this game unravelled for the Tiggers in the second half gave the faithful cause to vent. In two cruel minutes Maric rolled an ankle and hobbled off, Vickery took the next centre bounce and got crumpled by West and just like that the Tigers had no ruck division. By the time Ivan limped back on to stoutly fill the role of old fashioned, immobile tap ruckman dinosaur, the game had turned sideways.

The Cats worked their way into the clash. Jumped early, they settled into a defensive stance, circled the eager young fighter, took the blows and then began to counterpunch. Slowly at first. Then the combinations became more expansive. Geelong are a cagey former champ, they can sense the vacuum that exists in this season’s running for the flag and know what needs to be done for another shot at a premiership.

Richmond’s faithful could use that perspective. But it’s hard to find clarity when everything is fitting the pattern of bleak winter’s past – False hope, swiftly ripped away.

The Tigers keep arriving at the point where their season can be made, forged by a breakthrough win over big opposition and finding ways to lose. The frustration of having all the play in the first half, only to find themselves busted open in the third quarter was too much. A moment of complete umpiring chaos opened the floodgates of discontent and gave a serious glimpse of the tender box simmering within the Punt Road push. A ‘dodgy’ free on Richmond’s attacking flank lead to a fifty….then another fifty and a pointblank shot on goal for the Cats. The tumult in the stands was visceral. Yellow explosions of apoplectic rage led to a fierce sustained boo. It was all happening again for the poor Tiges. They were getting robbed blind by the umps again. Nothing is more righteous than the indignation based on the frees against count climbing.

The Cats just went to work and punched the clock. Two more major milestones celebrated- 200 for Stevie J, 250 for Enright and another contender put away. The only luxury they allowed was giving Corey a chance to get a goal. It made his big night complete.

As the game blew out, the hopes held for victory for their Tigers morphed into stanch debate about who needed to pay at Thursday night selection. Riewoldt needed a rocket, Edwards is playing alright for Coburg, time to select him at full forward. Shift Jack to the pocket- Make a statement. Tuck has to come in. He brings toughness in the middle and a third up in the ruck. Is Jackson up to this? Nahas for Titch?

Losing is purgatory. The present is eclipsed by the future; but only because Richmond’s frustration at the present is the fear it replicates the past. It’s a knot of existential angst.

Geelong put all this behind them a decade ago but it does pay to remember Nick Davis coming from the clouds to snatch victory from a prototype version of these triple premiership heroes.

Richmond have the talent but how much is patience worth? The price is skyrocketing.

Geelong 3.3 9.3 15.7 20.11 (131)
Richmond 4.1 8.4 11.7 13.9 (87)

Geelong: Christensen 3, Smedts 2, Bartel 2, Duncan 2, Stokes 2, Johnson 2, Hawkins 2, Enright, Murdoch, Selwood, Blicavs, West.
Richmond: King 4, Riewoldt 3, Martin 2, Ellis, Knights, McGuane, Grigg.
Geelong: Christensen, Johnson, Stokes, Enright, Duncan, Bartel, Hunt, Guthrie

Richmond: Edwards, Grigg, Martin, Grimes, Knights, Jackson, Rance

Umpires: Donlon, Kamolins, Nicholls.

Official Crowd: 55,625.

Our Votes- 3-Johnson, 2-Christensen, 1-Enright


  1. Tom – I was staggered at how much the press talked up Richmond before the game. Some footy “experts” were even tipping them in an upset (but not Richo).

    Surely Cotchin is carrying a leg injury?

  2. I agree Dips… even before the Freo and Collingwood games, Richmond was being talked up. We’re not even close to them! I tipped against the Tigers the last three weeks and I’ve been right every time.

  3. Nice write-up Tom.

    One correction if I may though – Vickery was cleaned up by Delideo. Well, by Stevie J actually, but it came courtesy of calculated subtle push in the back from Lids.

    Johnson lost part of his lip. Delideo should be cited for rough conduct…

  4. Kath Presdee says

    Is the Cave of No Return where they found the Splade of Damocles? That’s what I’ve taken away from that gem of an album.

  5. I’d be intrigued to look at the head to head of these two teams in the last 30 years . From the start of the 1984 season, i’d be suprised if the Tigers have come out on top more than 10 times in that period. There was a period when Geelong, with G Ablett snr at his peak OWNED Richmond. Though that ‘s a long time ago, the Tigers really have a problem beating the Cats.


  6. Glen, I heard someone go through teh stats the other night on TV. Very few Tiger wins, but the amazing thing was the margins of those wins. A number over 100 points, and even more over 11 goals.

    Gary Senior kicked 116 goals in 19 games against them.

    Ahhh, the memories…

  7. Stainless says

    I reckon it’s 8 wins only since 1984 and most of those were pretty major upsets that coincided with periods of Geelong’s notorious flakiness (which sadly doesn’t seem to exist any more!).

  8. Yes, i saw a few of those shellackings, including G Ablett’s 14 goal haul of 1989. The following year at Kardinia Park i saw Geelong kick 9-28 to give the Tigers a Mothers Day present . Then there was the 1995 preliminary final, when MIchael Gale kicked the ball 40 metres backwards to highlight the gap between the sides. Much more can be said, but the scorecards can describe these matches far more succintly.


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