Almanac Footy: Richmond 1998


After Round 10 this year Richmond found themselves ninth on the ladder, a position Richmond supporters know quite well finishing there six time since the final eight was introduced in 1994. The jokes still came but we just a wry smile and went along with the joke this time. Richmond finished ninth in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2006 & 2008, six times under five different coaches with only 1994 & 2000 giving pleasant memories.



1994 was the first year of the final eight, Richmond had not made the finals since 1982 and John Northey was in his second year as coach. After nine rounds we were 3-6, then won the nine out of next eleven and sat fifth with two rounds to go. Richmond would lose by 113 points to Carlton, 76 points to Geelong and miss the eight by percentage. It was a promising ninth, it fact so good we released a video ‘Tigers on the Prowl’. We had hope with improvement to come from youngsters Richardson, Campbell, Gale, Knights, Broderick, Maxfield and Daffy.



1996 came off a finals campaign beating Essendon in semi-final before the Cats flogged us in the Preliminary Final. There was optimism Richo was back after missing the second half of the season with knee reconstruction as too there was with captain Tony Free. Darren Gaspar was a new recruit who looked good in defence. There was a new coach with John Northey leaving for Brisbane and I thought Robert Walls would help with tactics to go with our passion. Richmond spent most of the season sitting eighth or ninth and coming to the last round two points clear of Hawthorn. Round 22 saw Hawthorn beat Melbourne by one point on Saturday night in the proposed merger match. Richmond lost to eventual premiers North Melbourne on Sunday afternoon by 32 points in Brent Harvey first game. Richmond a disappointing ninth despite Matthew Richardson kicking 91 goals. I will cover 1998 at the end.



No much was expected of Richmond in 2000, we were really bad in 1999 and had a new rookie coach Danny Frawley. After Round 4 Richmond had just lost to Fremantle by one point at home and Matthew Richardson had broken his foot and was out for the year; we were 1-3 for the season. Surprisingly Richmond got on a roll and won seven out of next eight and were sitting third on ladder after Round 12. Five losses in a row followed and come into Round 22 Richmond were ninth with 11 wins and 96.2%, Hawthorn were eighth with 11 wins and 96.9%. Hawthorn beat the Bulldogs on Friday night, Carlton thumped Richmond on Sunday and it was season over. The hope and promise under Danny Frawley was justified in the short term – Richmond made finals in 2001, beat Carlton in the semi-final and were apparently one good small forward away from being a contender.



Terry Wallace took over in 2005 after a wooden spoon in 2004, Richmond would win ten games, but only three after Round 9 when Nathan Brown broke his leg in Round 10 after a great start to the season. Richmond finished ninth in 2006 with 11 wins and percentage of 86%. Richmond were never on contention for the eight losing three matches by over 100 points for the year.



After the promise of 2006, Richmond won the spoon again in 2007 and entering 2008 Terry Wallace was back under pressure. After three wins and a draw in the first 11 weeks, Richmond found form in the middle part of the year led by exciting youngsters Trent Cotchin (who debuted in Round 8) Jack Riewoldt, Brett Deledio, Nathan Foley, Shane Edwards, Cleve Hughes, Richard Tambling and exciting new wing Matthew Richardson. Richmond were never in the eight and never looked like making it but did finish two points outside; we just needed a 24 round season. We thought we be better in 2009 but that was wrong. There be no finals until 2013, no finals win until 2017.



Back to 1998, this summed up Richmond as a whole between 1980-2017. It was 18 years since we won a premiership, 19 years until we won our next. We were halfway there in our tough journey following the Tigers and we finished ninth. The year before Richmond sacked Robert Walls as coach with five rounds to go, Richmond were 15th on the ladder with six wins. Richmond ‘unleashed the Giesch’ and won four out of next five including beating finalists Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne and then Carlton at Princess Park in Round 22 who needed to win to play finals, remarkably missing the finals by two points.


Season 1998 went like this, look how amazing the results are

R1 beat Essendon by 14 points

R2 lost to Geelong at Kardinia by 19 points

R3 beat Hawthorn by six points

R4 lost to Collingwood by 45 points (7.1 to 0.3 in first quarter)

R5 beat West Coast by 15 points

R6 lost to Brisbane by 35 points

R7 beat Melbourne by 42 points

R8 beat Adelaide by 13 points in Adelaide (7 to 2 in last quarter)

R9 lost to Western Bulldogs by 13 points (Bulldogs were on top and we lead at ¾ time by 8pts)

R10 beat Port Adelaide by 30 points

R11 lost to St Kilda by 27 points (Saints were second, we were three points up at ¾ time)



After 11 rounds we were 6-5 and eighth on percentage.



R12 beat North Melbourne by 35 points

R13 lost to Sydney by 11 points

R14 beat Fremantle by 90 points

R15 beat Carlton by 62 points



After playing everyone once, Richmond were fourth 9-6, six points clear of ninth and two games clear of Essendon in tenth.



R16 lost to Essendon by 19 points

R17 beat Geelong by 9 points

R18 lost to Hawthorn by 36 points

R19 best Collingwood by 19 points

R20 lost to West Coast by 39 points

R21 beat Brisbane by 77 points



Before Round 22 the ladder was:


North 60 118.1%

Bulldogs 60 117.8%

Sydney 52 106.3%

St Kilda 52 102.2%

Melbourne 52 98.8%

Adelaide 48 122.8%

West Coast 48 111.5%

Essendon 48 109.7%

Richmond 48 109.4%



We were 0.3% out of the eight and one game behind Sydney in thirdn but with a better percentage, if we won we could’ve finished anywhere, even top four as there would be strange results in Round 22…



Round 22

North beat Bulldogs by five points to win McClelland trophy

St Kilda lost to Wooden spooner Brisbane by one point

Adelaide beat West Coast by 25 points

Essendon lost to Geelong by 10 points

Sydney beat Collingwood by 12 points

On Sunday afternoon Melbourne flogged Richmond by 76 points, Richmond miss the eight by 4%



12 wins and 104.8 would make the eight in 1994-1997, and finish sixth in 1999.



As you may notice

Richmond won 12 lost 10

Only side in 1998 not to lose two in a row

Did not win more than two games in a row

Did not lose its matches against the 1998 Grand Finalists including beating Adelaide in Adelaide.

Was in the eight for all rounds except Round 2, 4 and the last three matches.

1998 is the perfect summary of Richmond between 1980 and 2017, we had some hope, we were confused, we were frustrated at finishing ninth coming, we were brutal and blood hungry with four coaches in six years between 1995-2000. Little did we know we were halfway there until the 11thpremiership, now we can all have a smile about those years.



Go Tigers



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  1. Stainless says

    Rodney, I remember the 1998 season like it was yesterday.
    The remarkable symmetry of results that you describe was further enahnced by the fact that we won all our home games and lost all our away games (except the Crows in Adelaide). At our best, the Tigers were terrific – Richo in his prime, Knights, Campbell, Broderick, Daffy in the midfield, Brad Ottens in his debut year. That Round 15 win over Carlton was a Friday night ripper. We conceded the first four goals but responded with eight of the next ten in a power-packed opening quarter. On debut, Justin Plapp kicked five. Remember him?
    Unfortunately that was the peak of our season. The bye came at a bad time as we were really on a roll. We came back a little rusty and were overrun by Essendon. The win-loss pattern continued but we never recaptured our best form. After so much promise, the last round loss was the stuff of nightmares.
    Thanks for the memories nonetheless!

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Great piece mate, was going to say well researched but knowing you most of it is probably from memory.

    Been very happy for you these past few years after the many tough years you’ve had being a devout Tigers man!

  3. Thanks Stainless in hindsight just think it reflects us so well in that period the fact we were still only halfway in our journey. The Essendon match was the worst it was a milestone match for Sheedy, we had momentum at half time after a goal on the siren by Brett Birdman Evans.

    Plapp looked a beauty, I feature him in my number series for Number 14, had a cult following. Daffy won the Best & Fairest.

    Amazing to think it was 18 years in to our struggle , yet know we look at
    Essendon 20 years
    Carlton 26 years

    Thanks Luke for kind words , yeah was on memory the sequence and who we lost to etc.
    Last 5 years just blessed, always hope but never thought possible. It is addictive and hate losing but you do hope your close friends experience this feeling. Hope one day for you and the boys under new coach Danny Seow

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