AFL Season 2019: A reflection of the year Richmond laid the ghost of the Hafey Years


It is 8pm Grand Final night, I just walked into the Cricketers Arms after soaking up the atmosphere wondering up and down Swan St where the now traditional Tiger celebrations have been going on after our historical 89 point win over the Giants. I order a schooner of Carlton Draught and make my way upstairs where to my surprise  only a few Richmond supporters are.  The replay of the grand final is on so I take a seat and watch the game.  Chatting to the other Tiger supporters we marvel at how well the day went.  I thought it would be tight in the first half, but with the fresher legs we would run away for a 30 point win.  Never would I have thought we would have a win more dominant then the 1980 side lead by KB that smashed the Pies by 81 points.  To watch Dusty become an Richmond immortal winning his second Norm Smith, Houli putting in another fine GF performance, Jack Riewoldt making up for his quiet preliminary final performance with a 5 goal haul, Nankervis and Soldo combining well in the ruck, Prestia continuing on his season best form and Captain Cotchin putting in a fine captain’s performance.


When I think back to round 1 when Alex Rance went down, I never thought I would be at Cricketers Arms Grand Final night enjoying a premiership. Harking back to round 1 as my cousin Dean, his daughter Tia and I took our regular seats in the Olympic stand, our thinking was 2019 was about redemption, after our 2018 preliminary final lose to Collingwood.  That was an opportunity lost and we needed to strike while we had this fantastic squad of players.  While we had a comfortable win against Carlton, losses to Collingwood and GWS had me wondering, are we in a position to mount a serious challenge?  However Dimma Hardwick gave young players such as Sir Sydney Stack and Jack Ross a go and we picked up wins against Port, Swans and the Demons.  Unfortunately the injuries kept mounting up with Riewoldt, Cotchin and Nankervis picking up injuries.  While we were picking up a win here and there the three losses in a row to North, Geelong and the Crows meant we’re hovering in 8th spot before the bye.  I thought let’s get ready for 2020 and play the kids for the rest of the season.  With Stack, Bolton, Ross, Chol and Balta all showing promise it looked like this could be a development season for Richmond.  Good thing Dimma, the coaching staff and the squad don’t think like a supporter as after the bye the lads went on a run better than the one we had in 2013.  Richmond knocked over big sides such as the Giants, West Coast and the Lions.  I thought the game that made me think we are in with a chance was the game against Collingwood in round 19.  Lead by Tom Lynch Richmond were in control all night and never had to get out of 3rd gear.  This made me realise we are a decent chance to have a good run into the finals.  We also can make good on the promise of redemption from 2018.


Come finals time the players seemed to lift with every game. Both Brisbane and Geelong got off to good starts, but the Tigers willed themselves back into the contest and by the time Grand Final day came along Richmond were battle hardened.  There is no team in the comp that could have beaten the Tigers on Grand Final day.  Sitting behind the goals at the Punt Rd end wedged between the Cheer Squad and the Grog Squad (seriously how much more Richmond is that?).  I was meant to go with my cousin Dean to the game.  However in an act of parental kindness he gave his ticket to his daughter Tia who has been a Tigers supporter since birth and a member since 2013.  You could not wipe the smile off her face all day as she lapped up the atmosphere and saw one of the great Tiger performances in the history of our club.


So now the question has to be asked how this side over the last three season compares to the great sides in the Hafey years. I would say very much equal as Hafey had two generations of sides for the 67, 69 premierships and the 73, 74 premierships.  The 73 and 74 side just edges out on account of winning two premierships in a row.  Saying that the last remnants of the ghost of the Hafey years have finally been laid to rest and now we enjoy a very fruitful few years at Punt Rd.


See you all in 2020


Eat ‘Em Alive


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Vaughan Menlove

Obsessed with Richmond, Luton Town, Melbourne Victory and Arsenal. The Dr had a soccer career hampered by the realisation he was crap, but could talk his way around the game. Co host of It's Not Called Soccer podcast


  1. george smith says

    the 1980 side that destroyed Collingwood was one of the greatest ever, with stars like Bartlett, Roach, Rowlings and Weightman. And a Cloke who kicked straight!

    The current version is like Moggies 07 or Collingwood 90. It is redemption rather than revenge. We did not know that Damian was a good coach. He is however the first Richmond coach since Hafey to win multiple flags.

    You are not going to reign forever more, that only happens to the Galacticos. The good news is that the good coaches – Jeans, Parkin, Sheeds etc, tend to win 4 flags. So two more flags are on on the horizon…

  2. Thanks for that. This side is creating its own history. There are now 18 teams or 17 legitimate contenders. Clarkson won 4 flags in 8 years so thats the challenge.
    Also, just to reflect. We have won our last 3 flags from 3rd. When we finished top we lost in 82 and failed to make the GF last year.
    Raines in 1980 was a star. 36 possessions in GF.thats like 45 in todays game. KB kicked 7 but Raines did justice to No 4 that day

  3. The unfortunate thig about such a lop-sided Grand Final is that our 2019 Premiership will always be remembered as a cakewalk. It was anything but. To win 12 in a row including three finals is an outstanding achievement in the modern AFL, and to do so when each game was like a mini-elimination final was even more remarkable.
    The strength and depth of our list right now is the envy of the competition, but this can change rapidly. Another Flag in 2020 or 2021 is needed for RFC to do itself justice.

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