Finals Week 1 – Richmond v Hawthorn: Knowing

 

We finished 2017 knowing everything we needed to know. There were no what ifs to ponder and no sliding door moments that sent us down the wrong path. The season played out perfectly and we got the result we had waited so long for. As we spent the summer watching Fox Footy’s Tigerthons, our knowing was filled with understanding. Konrad Marshall’s Yellow & Black book afforded deep insights into the inner workings of the club while the Footy Alamanc let us understand each other.

 

Season 2018 has played out how we hoped. The ladder predictor on the AFL’s website hasn’t had the workout it’s had in other seasons because a top of the table finish felt inevitable for a long time. Indeed, we’ve been top for the past 11 rounds and another four rounds earlier in the season. But here at the MCG on a Thursday night with the finals about to begin, we have hope but we now don’t know what is to come.

 

But there are important matters to attend to before the game gets underway. Our seats, out in the open a few rows behind the Richmond interchange bench, are soaking wet from the heavy rain that settled in before the teams ran onto the ground. And here’s where a little preparation pays off. The rain ponchos I’d bought earlier in the week kept us dry and the roll of paper towel I’d “borrowed” from work before heading to the MCG was put to good use drying our seats. With the game about to begin, my anxiety from earlier in the day lessened and my nephew forgot that he had a maths test first thing on Friday morning. All we had to worry about was flicking the occasional raindrop from our noses and contemplating what number Tom Lynch might wear next year (#13 perhaps, or maybe #19 or #20 would be better).

 

With the pre-game formalities completed, the game – which we’ve waited two long weeks for – is finally underway. The intensity of the first quarter is no surprise because this is what we do. Both teams tackle and smother while the rain makes a clean possession more valuable. We understand wet weather. The ball doesn’t have to go forward prettily; deft taps, thumping punches and clever soccer kicks all gain valuable ground. That the first goal comes through MacIntosh is a surprise but our second through Rioli picking up a loose ball is what we’ve come to expect. The rest of the quarter is tight until the Hawks kick a couple from a dodgy 50 metre penalty and a dodgy free kick. At quarter time the Hawks are up by one point but we’re not concerned. We’ve learned to have faith in the Tigers.

 

And our faith is rewarded – with good footy and the rain easing. Early in the second quarter, with players from both teams fighting for possession in the Tigers’ forward line, the ball pops out to Rioli who dribble kicks towards goal. Three straight bounces and it’s through for the Tigers’s third. It takes a while for Hawthorn to kick their first for the quarter, but soon after Dusty delights the Tiger supporters by kicking an impossible goal across his body from deep in the pocket. McIntosh bobs up to kick his second just before half time and we’re confident. We’re only 14 points up at half time but we know – we’ve got this.

 

We settle in to enjoy the second half. Apart from the magic that is Dusty in his 200th game, it’s an even contribution from the rest of the team: Rance and Grimes patrolling the backline; Cotchin, Prestia and Edwards through the middle; McIntosh with his third unlikely goal; Caddy up forward; Lambert back from injury and Higgins doing Higgins-type things.

 

Our lead is extended to 35 points at three-quarter time, and half-way through the last quarter, the roar from the Tiger supporters gets louder and louder as even the most sceptical come to know that the previous powerhouse of the AFL, and a team with whom we have no finals history, has been vanquished.

 

Hawks supporters leave early as the urgency of the game drops off and the Tigers practise slowing the ball down and playing keepings off. Those at the Punt Road end of the ground keep themselves entertained by singing the club song until the siren sounds. A 31 point win and we’re into the prelim, against who, we don’t yet know.

 

RICHMOND           2.2         5.7         10.13     13.17     (95)
HAWTHORN         2.3         3.5         5.8         9.10       (64)

 

GOALS
Richmond: McIntosh 3, Rioli 3, Caddy 2, Martin, Prestia, Higgins, Edwards, Graham
Hawthorn: Roughead 3, Shiels, Nash, Impey, Mitchell, Breust, Smith

 

BEST
Richmond: Martin, Prestia, Cotchin, Rioli, Lambert, Grimes, Grigg
Hawthorn: O’Meara, Mitchell, Shiels, Smith, Henderson, Sicily

 

Crowd: 91,446

 

Our votes: 3 Martin (Richmond), 2 Prestia (Richmond), 1 Cotchin (Richmond)

 

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About Gill

As a youngster, Gill thought that frequent Richmond premierships were assured, but in the many years since 1980 she realised her folly and distracted herself by crunching numbers at a university. The magnificence of the Tigers’ 2017 season has restored her faith in Richmond and all of humanity.

Comments

  1. Good read Gill. Now can you please give me some guidance.

    During the week I read about the Richmond V Hawthorn clash played as a curtain raiser to the 1977 Grand Final replay. I’m seriously struggling to recall this event. I’ve got a fairly good recall of the 1977 Grand Final, and the replay , as my grand parents came down from Corowa both weekends. I recall the first state of origin match the week after the grand final with the Sandgropers drubbing the Vics by 94 points. Richmond V Hawthorn clash i’m having difficulties with.

    So Gill if you, or another Almanacker, can give us your recollection of the encounter i’ll be happy.

    Glen!

  2. daniel flesch says:
  3. Hi Glen and Daniel

    The link that Daniel posted is the first I knew about that game (the article is a great read). I don’t remember much from 1977 apart from the grand final being drawn. I was a little too young to be properly paying attention to footy. Three years later, I was all over it :)

  4. Ta Gill: Ta Daniel.

    I have a pretty good memory of footy in the 70’s but this episode escapes me.

    Glen!

  5. Ta Gill. Ta Daniel.

    Despite me living through the 70’s , having a reasonably good recollection of the footy, this episode escapes me.

    Glen!

  6. Joe De Petro says:

    Good stuff, Gill.

    KNot only is Kam McIntosh a Premiership player, he now is building a reputation as a big game player, unlikely as all this may be.

    BTW, I liked the Tigerathon. Has any other team ever had an “Athon”?” I think we were the first.

  7. Hi Joe

    Kamdyn was a sensation. He was even marking in the backline. Happy, happy days.

    I’ve never bothered with Fox Footy over summer before. The Tigerthons were great. i could plan my day around being out of the house for losses and watching the wins. I watched the 2017 finals series during the bye. I can’t ever upgrade my IQ or I’ll lose my recordings. Can we buy Blueray copies of all the finals, or just regular DVDs?

  8. Joe De Petro says:

    HI Gill

    I have the full season pack from last year (JB Hifi). Only the Grand final is in blu-ray. everything esle is in standard DVD. I think they are currently offering a four DVD finals package but it is probably not in Blu-ray. Ring em and ask em.

  9. Great Article. We were luck enough to have undercover seats in the Ponsford. In the wet Richmond are even more stronger. The mosquito fleet was deadly

  10. Hi Joe,
    I have the DVD of the GF but maybe I’ll get a Blueray too to satisfy my need for HD viewing. My nephew has the box set that I can borrow.

    Hi DrCruel,
    You were lucky! I didn’t trust Ticketek and took whatever seats were allocated. The rain wasn’t too unpleasant though. We were dry and that’s all that mattered. Our young Tigers definitely know how to play in the wet; it’s not too different to how they play in the dry.

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