AFL Round 8 – Richmond v Melbourne: Old demons die hard

A few weeks ago, I listened to 3AW’s call of the Richmond-Bulldogs game. I couldn’t make it to the game for reasons I can’t remember, but it probably had something to do with it being played at Etihad and I have a strict no-Etihad Stadium policy when it comes to most things in life.

In the pre-game, the general feeling among the commentators was that Richmond would win and win comfortably – a view shared by all but two on the panel.

“Don’t say that,” said Caro with an element of hostility.

“Yeah nah keep a lid on it for now,” added Richo.

Elsewhere I’m sure there were many Richmond supporters nodding emphatically, just as I caught myself doing. Even in the lead-up to an apparently certain victory, there still remained this sense of fragility.

As it turned out the Tigers were dominant and delivered the Dogs a thrashing, leaving us all to wonder what we were so worried about.

But herein lies the outlook of your modern Richmond supporter: our pessimism is often tested but never dies. That’s the legacy I’ve been lumped with unfortunately, one that I will surely lecture my kids about someday. Hopefully by then this mantra will have become less of a legacy and more of a dusty, old fable – reeled out on a victorious Grand Final eve when we’re thinking of those less fortunate.

I’m sure my stories of Richmond’s less than memorable years will get the same response my Dad’s tales of the glory years do now: “Yeah sure, whatever.”

It’s always hard to picture a story so different from your own.

Of course, it’s becoming more and more difficult to deny a sense of optimism. For the first time in a long time our list has depth, our players have spirit and a finals birth seems a likely thing.

But despite all of this I had concerns about playing the Demons.  The nerves began to bubble away long before the ball was bounced, which is illogical, right? That same old feeling of doubt seemed to hang around all week and as I took my seat on the members’ wing I still had a horrible feeling that something was about to go awry.

With all due respect to the Melbourne Football Club, this match should not have been a difficult task. Just last week, they lost to the Gold Coast Suns by 60-points, which is staggering considering the Suns are arguably still on their training wheels.

That, coupled with Melbourne’s preceding horror start to the year, should have left many a Tiger rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of three-hours alone with the fledgling Demons.

Ultimately, we won. But the afternoon was like a trip to the dentist with a particularly troublesome toothache. Normally, a 34-point win wouldn’t elicit such a sombre feel and perhaps it would do me good to take it as the preverbal “a win’s a win.”

From the moment they ran out, the Demons made it known they were going to do something their coach and their fans had been imploring them to do for weeks – they were going to have a crack. After kicking the first goal, Melbourne maintained a steady lead until midway through the second quarter. There were times when Richmond did look as if they might run-away with it after that, but the Demons held on. Going into the three-quarter-time huddle, they trailed by just three (and a bit) goals.

The last quarter did all it could to test my pessimism. Brandon Ellis notched up his 39th possession, Nick Vlaustin attacked the ball with the gumption of a well-established player and the team, as whole, lifted to a standard the previous three quarters had been bereft of.  I left the ground relieved for the win, but not much else. I don’t know, maybe this negativity says something more about me than it does anything else.

I just cannot wait for the day when I approach a game the way my Dad did in the 70s and the 80s, or the way my Geelong mates do now. They don’t really talk about the possibility of losing so much. They’ve been raised on a different story.

RICHMOND            2.4   7.9   12.14   15.16 (106)
MELBOURNE         3.0   7.2   10.4     11.6   (72)

Riewoldt 3, Martin 3, King 2, Deledio, Nahas, Ellis, Vlastuin, Morris, White, Chaplin
Melbourne: Davey 3, Dawes 2, Dunn 2, Nicholson, Bail, Howe, Evans

Ellis, Vlastuin, Deledio, Grigg, Houli, Cotchin
Melbourne:  N. Jones, Davey, Magner, Terlich, M. Jones.

Umpires: McBurney, Hosking, Foot    CROWD: 39,148 at the MCG

OUR VOTES Ellis (Richmond) 3, Vlastuin (Richmond) 2, Jones (Melbourne), 1.

About Catherine Durkin

Catherine Durkin, who has been writing for the Almanac since her high school days, is now a reporter and presenter for Fox Sports News, based in Sydney


  1. Excellent report Catherine. My eyes glided over the words. You write beautifully.

  2. Well thank you very much T Bone, very kind!

  3. Hear! Hear! to what T Bone says, Catherine.

    “Our pessimism is often tested but never dies” is a brilliant line. It should be translated into Latin and added to the Tiger logo.

  4. Thanks Gigs! It’s certainly not a bad idea – I might put a little submission together to make it a happening thing.

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