AFL Round 9 – Richmond v Melbourne: The Sweet Smell of Winning

Early on in the last quarter this afternoon, it felt like last week all over again. After trailing (narrowly) at half time, the Demons surged in the third quarter. With the Tigers poised to take back the lead, it just looked like ‘catch-up’ footy all over again.

But no! Hark! A new mood is afoot!

The Demons refused to allow themselves to be overrun again in what was clearly a winnable game. While tactics and individual efforts were critical, of course, at the end of the day it all seemed to come down to a question of will – and perhaps also a question of belief.

There is no doubt, of course, that the Tigers did themselves no favours with their errant kicking, and did the Demons a huge favour. Then again, errant kicking, more often than not, is simply another manifestation of a lack of self belief. The Demons believed today, their opponents did not.

Of course, it’s a fine line, but in the last quarter, when the game was there to be won by either side, it was the Demons who found the faith to ‘take it home’.

Last week they came close. Perhaps it’s just a question of how many games they are prepared to lose. Nathan Jones made a comment during the week to the effect that it was time to start winning, and perhaps he led the mood for the rest of the team.

There was a very special feeling of jubilance among the Demons supporters after the game. It felt like more than just another win, and it felt bigger and more significant than this season’s previous two wins. It felt as though finally some nut had been cracked.

Well, time will tell. We’ve been there before. But right now, it’s Saturday night, and there’s nothing more that needs to be done other than to simply soak up the flavour, the sweet smell of winning…

About Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside is primarily a writer of rhyming verse. He has been writing for over thirty years, and writes for both adults and children. Many of his poems have been published in magazines and anthologies, both in Australia and overseas, or won awards. His collection of rhyming verse for children, "'The Billy That Died With Its Boots On' and Other Australian Verse", was published by Walker Books in May 2014. Stephen performs regularly at folk festivals around the country - mostly in Victoria. He is also a great fan of the Australian poet C. J. Dennis. He is a foundation member of the C. J. Dennis Society, and is closely involved in the organisation of the annual Toolangi C. J. Dennis Poetry Festival. Stephen is a long-suffering Melbourne supporter.


  1. Nothing in footy is more over-rated than doing it for (insert legend or milestone here).
    Roos has perfected rope-a-dope footy. Keep it tight early, and then give the opponent the opportunity to punch themselves out.
    Well done D’s.

  2. Do you think that’s right, Peter? Soak up the punishment early, and then capitalise later in the game. Perhaps you are right, but it seems like a high risk strategy to me. I’d much rather they led from the word go. It seems to me that that’s what all the great teams do.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    We all over complicate footy esp at afl level , Roos has gone back to old fashioned man on man , keep it simple stupid mantra is working

  4. Yes, that’s fair enough. It’s certainly what they need. I still reckon they over-possess, though. What the fans want to see is the ball bombed down deep and fast into the forward line to give the forwards a fifty-fifty chance. That’s all we ask for.

  5. Peter Fuller says

    I think that your observation that inaccuracy often reflects lack of self-belief is perceptive. In my feeble sporting endeavours, and indeed in life, I’ve tried to practice a piece of wisdom used by Tony Jacklin, the English golfer: “If you think you can’t, you won’t, if you think you dare not, you don’t; sooner or later the man who succeeds is the man who believes in himself.”

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