Finals Week 2 – Richmond v St Kilda: Oh my god, they killed Kenny!






And so it came to pass, that we were Bastards.


Sick of Geelong, they’re a pack of old hacks too old and slow to realise that they’re too old and slow (with compliments to J.Harms), pack of bastards.


Sick of Hawthorn, their up-turned noses and flying right-angled elbows and scoffing faces, their brutality, un-sociability, pack of bastards.


Sick of Sydney, competition-breaking lovechilds they are, cash-strapped, culture-pedaling, pack of bastards.



Hame and I are watching the footy at Kyneton’s Major Tom’s, where I work a handful of nights a week, flipping burgers, bussing tables, pouring pints with varying success. Hame is 22, fully licensed and thus, deso. Burgers and beers, Saints and Tiges, is the posed suggestion. “Be rude not to,” comes the vehement reply.


Hame used to be my P-plated lift from the senior’s cricket after a junior game a few years ago, Triple J songs flaring from his speaker, the smell of sunscreen and old Solo cans blossoming from the pockets of the car seats. He’s the local barista, bowls solid wobblers and is a Saints man.


Regional Victoria allows us in with our masks and hastily scrawled details. The projector is up and the Kayo stream is unbuffered. Perfect.


It’s hard to be truly invested, though. We would be There tonight in other circumstances, nestled somewhere in the Members, having presumably bummed a few guest passes, drinking from plastic cups and bemoaning our respective injuries, crashing at a mates’ and awaking with a stroll ‘round the corner and the associated bustle.


It’s like free kicks; complain about not what has been paid, but what has not.


A semi-final, I’m in my mum’s old 90s’ Tiger-themed, TAC-branded t-shirt, there are mates about and it’s a Friday night! What’s wrong with me!?



Game is on quickly. Uncomfortably, it is still light outside, complete with a Summery, shiny flair. The October piss-downs have produced puddles in the asphalt divots out the front, and the gutters are slick. It is not September but we are grateful for what we have.


Richmond are on with their midfield. Cotchin is industrious, Martin brutish, Prestia somewhat crafty and Edwards cheeky with his overhead handballs, dribbled goals and artful taps and touches. Graham runs flat, straight lines and spears the ball. Lambert dashes and weaves importantly.


Bolton is the ticker, though. Leaping and reaching and sliding out of hand, he sidewinds about, jointless, raising shoulders and swerving alarmingly from left to right. If Martin is an unignorable, inevitable dam burst, Bolton is clear running water – LOOK! don’t touch – impossible to hold. Sit and watch, for a time, and enjoy the moment.


Both his goals don’t really make sense, and he never seems to really possess the ball. Up on half-forward, he seems at his most dangerous, at his most creative. The first goal has him sweep around Jack Sinclair, so easily he must be bored, before he skims a low drop punt from 50 that rears through after a leg-break in the goal-square that, considering the player, surprises nobody. His second is a bumbling, loose mess of body parts, not 20 metres from goal among a host of opponents, until suddenly the ball is punted, having somehow been loosely connected: nonsensically, a goal. He never possesses the ball: possession is an abstract concept. Better luck next time.


Down back, doleful Dylan Grimes is whacking opponent and football, Vlastuin does some good pointing and better leaping, Balta still plays like a little leaguer who has just discovered that he’s bigger than everyone and Baker is plucky. Damien Hardwick has a chuckle and tries Dave Astbury in the ruck.


It’s actually quite fun. Coffield and Clark are dutiful and honest defenders, but elsewise the Saints have little flair early in the piece. It is soon after that the Bastardry begins and the game putters alongside it.


Cotchin takes to Zak Jones like an overenthusiastic large dog and loops in the midfielder with his big paws and happily floors him in a frenzied, dumping tackling motion. It’s all a bit where-did-that-come-from. Then Pickett starts putting a pointed hip into a just as easily tackled opponent, while Lynch leaps bristling into and through packs, bulldozering Ben Paton into a gory mess, before finally greeting Dougal Howard with a poorly placed knee with the Saints backman helpless on the ground.


Is it reportable? Potentially. It’s certainly not new.


And in comes the realisation, my second pint gleaming with the glow of the projected contest, that we are the Bastards now.


No-one wants you to win tonight, it whispers.


You’ve got mercenaries.


You beat up the underdog.


‘Unsociable Tigers!’ intones the pint and I cringe a wee bit as an unperturbed Bachar Houli skims a kick across half-back.


Bastards we are indeed. Lynch plays bad-temperedly, kicking two, missing five, shanking a couple more. He inflames the contest, the little blonde curls of his fringe bouncing on his long forehead, pounding around the forward line and jumping to mark and hurt both. He’s hard to cheer for, in such a mood. Hame glares as Lynch bellows to the umpire, having received the gentlest of touches on his shoulder courtesy opposing skipper Jarryn Geary. Duly, the umpire blows the whistle. Duly, Lynch buries the Sherrin into the post.


The game ends as quick as it started, with St. Kilda trying for a victory only to be told by Richmond’s defence that unfortunately, that’s not allowed. Max King looks a player, but his leaping is in vain as four or five Tigers come to wallop the ball into the picketing. Funnily enough, the one time Vlastuin doesn’t send the pigskin hurtling away is a St. Kilda goal – however, the score reviewer has been taken up by the Tiger cause and finds enough wriggle room to deny the red, white and black. When the Saints do get a bit of a go, they tend to miss the middle sticks, and then Richmond tend to kick a goal. Even Jason Castagna won’t miss. It is bizarre.


It’s home time after singing the song and I realise, quite sadly, that I don’t like being Bastards. But the alternative for such a club is footballing purgatory, desolation, accompanied with the occasional carrot-stick that leads to surprise! more desolation.


I don’t think we’ll beat Port Adelaide. But this is my pessimism, purgatory-stamped and approved, worn proudly on the breast pocket. No account of Bastardry will take that away.



RICHMOND   5.1       9.1       10.4     12.8 (80)
ST KILDA       2.2       3.6       5.11     6.13 (49)


Bolton 3, Lynch 2, Edwards 2, Castagna, Martin, McIntosh, Prestia, Rioli
St Kilda: Battle, Butler, Kent, Ross, Savage, Steele


Edwards, Martin, Bolton, Baker, Houli.
St Kilda: Clark, Steele, Coffield, Ross.


At Metricon Stadium



Read more from Paddy Grindlay HERE.



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  1. I thought Shai and Sheds were the dynamic duo last night mate, absolute jets both of them.

    Agree about the inevitable nature of “becoming bastards” to some extent – you win flags and make some opposition teams look silly then it’s just natural that you lose the sympathetic hearts and minds of the great unwashed…the problem with Cotch and Lynch’s actions is that they don’t add anything of value to the team or to the club. Lynch in particular is like the kid niggling in the back seat of the car, never actually bruising their sibling but taking great joy in being an absolute jerk, supremely confident that the parent behind the wheel won’t just turn the car around on the way to the beach. Part of me wishes he copped a week earlier in the season to put a stop to it for good.

  2. Love your description of Shai Bolton’s distinctive, oh-so-loose bodily mechanics. You’ve got him exactly.

    I’ve been intrigued by the outbreak of popular loathing for our Tiges. Seems a bit unreasonable to me, especially considering the relative lack of popular contempt for those Turdbirds who bored us senseless for years, winning flag after flag whilst poaching top-shelf talent from other clubs.

  3. Yeah Paddy. Reckon you’re right that Richmond are the front-running smug bullyboy bastards.
    Well spotted.
    Lots of moments behind that.

    Enjoyed the Saints last night. Lots to like there.

  4. Hate to say it but the Tigers have a touch of the Brisbane 2004 about them. A long time at the top. A fair dose of smugness about them. Still good enough to put away emerging teams like the Saints. But the hunger that fed those manic 100% committed performances in 2017-2019 has faded. Instead there’s an expectation that the wins will be achieved on our terms and frustration emerges when it doesn’t happen (see examples of bastard behaviour that Paddy describes so eloquently). I’m in your pessimistic camp re. next week,Paddy.

  5. Peter Warrington says

    if it wasn’t us it would be someone else. the outrage machine requires it. the hoohah over the touched ball last night. so enveloped in righteousness.

    last year it was the Giants. and Toby Greene.

    every win, every award, every premiership, it;s all tainted these days. according to everyone else.

    makes you wonder why anyone watches,

  6. I don’t think Shai Bolton realises, how good he can be yet, but he is getting there, and when he does it will be nightmares for the opponents

  7. Greatt writing Paddy. Love the sense of place you evoke. Keep writing about Kyneton, about being on the outside looking in. It is rich material, it can take you far.
    I’m very proud of you!

  8. Let’s get a bit of context tho,Cotchin was just a clumsy tackle ridiculous the carry on.Lynch if not for previous bouts of stupidity this wouldn’t have been bought up ( yes I would have suspended him earlier in the season for basically being a fool ) in terms of those two incidents but the tigers were appalling re lack of discipline v the lions and extremely lucky not to have further,50s paid against them while we will never know personally don’t think it’s any coincidence that stupidity inc the wanderings and kebab shop have happened with out the close involvement of a certain,Neil Balme thanks,Paddy

  9. John Butler says

    Some mighty fine writing there, Paddy.

    Re bastardry, how do you get to be the New Hawthorn without it? Nobody loves an Empire, they just have to yield to it. Until they don’t..

    I speak, of course, as a Carlton supporter. 20 years in the doldrums and we’re still supposed to be arrogant, etc, etc. Trust me, you’ll get used to it.


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