AFL Round 9 – Richmond v Melbourne: Winning Nervously and Losing Tragically; a Story of Hardwick’s Heroes.

Melbourne v Richmond, round 9, 17 May 2014 at 1:40pm, MCG

Simon Bogli

The video tribute to Tom Hafey prior to the game exhibited a stoicism that was not reflective of his character. The minute of applause that followed was much more in keeping with his upbeat persona.

The initial stages of the game were blighted by congestion and a number of rolling mauls.

Once the ball was extracted from the stoppages that represent the black heart of the Melbourne game style, the Richmond outside run, led by Martin and ably supported by Jackson, looked imposing. Richmond converted this predominance in open play to kick two of the first three goals through Jackson and Edwards, with Melbourne having a fortuitous tumbling goal steered through by Nathan Jones.

The Tigers lead ought to have been more. Their midfield certainly took the example of the Hafey legacy to hand by kicking long, strong and direct to their forwards, but they were generally ill-directed, with Dunn, and other Melbourne back men zoning off their direct opponents to intercept wayward kicking.

Despite this, the Melbourne forwards did have their opportunities.

Max Gawn’s career had previously reached the heady heights of being just another one of Melbourne’s uncoordinated back-up ruckmen. Recast as a key position forward, he was a dangerous proposition, taking a number of contested marks against his direct opponent. Pedersen, the much maligned but improving ex-Kangas utility, was also on top of his opponent but was unable to take full toll, kicking two behinds in the first quarter.

Richmond took a one goal lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter started much like the first. Riewoldt extended the Richmond lead with a set shot from 35m. Thereafter came the Melbourne fightback, with Watts goaling from a set shot before setting up Riley with a helicopter kick. This before a horrendous mistake by Houli gifted a goal to Matt Jones, who duly converted from 55m on the run, giving the Dees the lead for the first time in the match.

Melbourne were finding their own skilful outside ball-users in the like of Tyson, who set up numerous offensive probes to match the Richmond midfielders. Jones and Viney were beating their Richmond counterparts, particularly Cotchin, who was well held by N. Jones in the congestion.

Richmond did recover the lead after some ordinary ball use in the back half by the Dees and, at the half, Richmond were leading by 3 points.

Richmond substituted Hampson for Lennon at half time after Hampson was unable to influence the contest, particularly around the stoppages. The Tigers are missing the bullocking presence of Maric in these crucial mid-season matches.

Melbourne wrested the initiative from the Tigers in the first few minutes of the third quarter with Tyson following up his star turn from the first half by slotting the first of his two goals for the quarter, and Dawes finding the sticks from 50.

The substitution of Lennon proved timely with him scoring a goal from his first kick in league football; you could see beery-eyed Richmond fans at the back of the stand reminiscing of a young Kevin Bartlett playing with similar flare.

After Tyson’s second goal and Pedersen converting from point-blank, Viney extended the Dees lead to 12 points with a clever goal out of heavy congestion. In attempting to harry Viney, Astbury suffered a knee injury and was unable to return to the field.

As the quarter drew to a close, a number of Richmond players adopted the legacy of a more contemporary Tiger legend, Matthew Richardson, and started missing shots at goal from everywhere on the ground at a critical juncture in the match. Riewoldt (1.3) was getting enough opportunities, as his chief tormentor James Frawley was a withdrawal from the Melbourne side with a foot injury, but he was unable to convert them.

Such inaccuracy was shared by Grigg (0.3), and Griffiths (0.3) as the Tigers put on 2.8 for the third quarter to the Dees 5.1. The expectation of surgical goal kicking from Griffiths, who has a kick like Big Bertha but is lacking a guidance system, is unfair.

At three-quarter time, the Dees were up by 8 points.

There was hope for the Tigers as Lennon punished another Melbourne turnover in the back half by coolly converting from 35m.

Pedersen steadied the Demons with his second goal from 40m and Vince then worked a leg break with the Sherrin to bowl the Richmond fans over. The Tigers refused to say die and, with their season on the line, Cotchin jagged a reply from 35m bringing the Tigers closer.

As Russian military strategist Matthew ‘Quantity [of possession] has its own Quality’ Lloyd was bemoaning the singular lack of influence that Watts was having on the contest. Watts bobbed up with two match-winning goals, one from a controversial contested mark in the goal square and the sealer, a snap around the corner to win the game for the Demons.

Kennedy-Harris, who was brought on as the substitute, then joined in the requiem for the Tigers season as their fans fled to Jolimont.

RICHMOND 2.3 4.8 6.16 9.20 (74)
MELBOURNE 1.3 4.5 9.6 14.7 (91)

Richmond: Lennon 2, Edwards 2, Jackson, Riewoldt, Martin, Lloyd, Cotchin
Melbourne: Watts 3, Tyson 2, Pedersen 2, N. Jones, M. Jones, Riley, Dawes, Viney, Vince, Kennedy-Harris

Richmond: Martin,Jackson.
Melbourne: Tyson,Viney,N.Jones,Pedersen,Watts

Umpires: Fisher, Nicholls, Ryan

Official crowd: 56,960 at the MCG

MALARKEY MEDAL: 1. Martin 2. Viney 3. Tyson


Ex-boundary umpiring hack vainly trying to prove (through the medium of text) that we are capable of more than just following the white line.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Richmond outside run provided by Jackson and Martin identifies a serious problem for the tigers and shows how , White was a bigger loss than any one imagined lack of
    PACE it is remarkable in how losing your quickest player and his ability to chase and harass shows up so many players for lack of pace . Recruiting is just so vital and , the tigers along with quite a few clubs showed a lack of courage and foresight and actually aiming for the holy grail instead of just trying to aim for being competitive in ignoring , Brodie Grundy who was rucking at senior , SANFL level is yet another huge blunder . The tigers need , Vickery to come thru alas lack of pace and footy smarts makes this look unlikely to occur . Overall did the tigers over achieve last year as they have just so many battlers on there list . In the dees case they are starting to build a side around , Tyson , Viney , Salem etc hopefully they get a fit , Trengove back who is a very good player and leader when fit and with , Watts gradual improvement there is a fair bit for , Roos to work with thanks , Simon

  2. Simon Bogli says

    I am not so harsh on the Tigers and their recruitment of “recycled talent” such as Grigg, Petterd et al only on the basis that Richmond’s recruitment of young guns in the first round has been an absolute disaster (especially in the mid 2000s, with Jared Oakley Nicholls being the first to come to mind.

    I can understand not wanting to have that millstone around your neck.

    Maric is an excellent ruckman and I suppose they felt they were well covered with Maric and Hampson so there was no real need to get a third ruck a la North Melbourne of a few ages.

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Maric is a fantastic honest battler who gives 110 per cent , Grundy is going to end up a mile better than that I can claim I said it at the time and it is proving to be correct

  4. Simon Bogli says

    Grundy has developed very quickly for a ruckman, given these lumbering dinosaurs generally take 5-6 years to develop and are a bit of a punt.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Simon we all new that before the draft as I said he was doing this in senior footy not against kids the coach of SA under 18s Brenton Sticks Phillips was stunned how low he fell

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