Five Reasons To Watch Richmond In 2020


There’s no footy. Richo and Browny are resorting to calling X-Box simulations of AFL fixtures. And Brian Taylor’s commentating on traffic. What better time to seek out some off-kilter and slightly unhinged reasons to watch each club in 2020?


Tom Lynch – In 1998, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson locked in a sharpshooter on Mankind just as Shawn Michaels did on Bret Hart in the infamous Montreal Screwjob. In doing so he capped off one of the more shocking heel turns in WWF/WWE history with a feud against man-of-the-people Stone Cold Steve Austin on his way to becoming the ‘Corporate Champion’. Now, I’m well aware this occurred in the midst of a wrestling era where Mae Young gave birth to a hand, Val Venis had his manhood samurai’ed off by Yamaguchi-san, and Big Boss Man both stole the Big Show’s father’s casket from a funeral AND fed mannequin-loving Al Snow’s dog to him, but this was big news. Tom Lynch’s defection to Richmond was one of the bigger heel turns of 2019. He was the shining light for the underdogs (i.e. Gold Coast Suns). The saviour destined to capture glory. And capture glory he did. Unfortunately for his babyfaced fans, it was for Richmond. He became just the third captain to leave a club and win a flag the next year following David Thorpe (Footscray captain in 1973, Richmond Flag Winner in 1974) and Stan Alves (Melbourne captain in 1976, North Melbourne Flag Winner in 1977). Lynch is approximately seven months away from a SummerSlam face turn. What that means for Richmond I don’t know. You try making sense of wrestling storylines.


Alex Rance – Disclaimer: I wrote this before he retired. Yet as Tom Browne said, Richmond are (the italics are mine) very, very cautiously optimistic that he will play in 2020. He’s also still listed on the club’s website. So, there’s that. Regardless of blind ‘story-breaking’, following the fall-out from his shock retirement will be a spectator sport of the highest order. Leslie Knope, Pawnee’s greatest City Councilor once espoused: “What I hear when I’m being yelled at is people caring loudly at me.” Rance was yelled at frequently by opposition players, the occasional media personality, and rabid opposition fanbases for being an All-Time-Third-Best-Forward-Tasked-Over-Rated-Floating-Defender-Softness-Personified-PermaFlog. People cared very loudly about Rance. Was it the boy band good looks? Wholesome approach to life? Footballing ability? The Premiership? Five All-Australian guernseys? The Richmond Best & Fairest medallion? Rance didn’t care about that. What he cared loudly about – and what he did very successfully – was being nigh on the best defender in the entire of Indiana Australia. Now, if only there were a group of able-bodied defenders willing to fill the void of his absence…


Damien Hardwick Coach Bombay once took the reins of a ragtag bunch of peewee ice-hockey misfits. Despite their shortcomings – and the perils of Act 2 of a Hollywood movie – they emerged victorious. I present to you, Damien Hardwick and the 2017 AFL Premiers, Richmond. (More or less). The sequel – two years later – saw the Ducks again struggling after a 12-1 loss to Iceland early in the Junior Goodwill Games. However, thanks to Russ Tyler’s knucklepuck, the Bash Brothers demolition of the Iceland bench, Dwyane Robertson lassoing an opposition player, and the fast gloves of ‘The Cat’ Julie Gaffney, The Ducks knocked off the evil Icelanders. I present to you, Damien Hardwick and the 2019 AFL Premiers, Richmond. (Again, more or less. Let’s not get dragged down in analogy here. But let’s be honest, much like Iceland, GWS is genuinely a barren Nordic tundra when it comes to AFL support…) I have no memory of the third movie in the franchise. Nor do I care to re-watch it. So, it’s an open book really. I present to you, Damien Hardwick and the 2020 Richmond Tigers.


Bachar Houli The mid-to-late 2000’s was a weird time for the Essendon Football Club. Matthew Knights was in charge of a genuine ragtag squad – try a forward line combination of Courtney Johns, Jay Neagle, Alwyn Davey, Kyle Reimers, and an on-his-last-legs Matthew Lloyd for size. Playing defence wasn’t included in the game plan, and even a finals berth in 2009 was coated in mediocrity. (They made the finals on the back of TEN wins and were promptly annihilated by 96 points in the Elimination Final by Adelaide). Luckily enough, I have mostly managed to suppress memories of these years. To such an extent that I forgot Bachar Houli had in fact, been drafted No.42 in the 2006 draft and played 26 games in this time period. Unluckily enough, having been subjected to intermittent appearances throughout this very same time period, Bachar decided enough was enough, packed his bags and floated off to Richmond for 181 games, two premierships, and an All-Australian guernsey. Essendon in the meantime, have not achieved an overly great amount. Houli rose to such heights in 2019 that in a Richmond premiership year he was (at the club): No.1 for uncontested possessions, No.2 for disposals, No.2 for marks, No.2 for metres gained, No.3 for intercepts, No.5 for Inside-50’s, and No.5 for 1-percenters. Guess who had the last laugh? (Psst. It’s Kevin Sheedy. It’s always Kevin Sheedy).


Dynasty – It was OK when Richmond won the flag in 2017. After all, the heady memories of the Western Bulldog’s inspirational romp to the flag the year before were fresh in the minds of neutral supporters, and the Tigers breaking a 35-year flag drought was deemed acceptable. They threatened to go back-to-back, and the tide turned. In no way was this warranted. Thankfully, Mason Cox went full-on ‘Miracle on Grass’ on Richmond in the 2018 Preliminary Final to allow West Coast to snatch the flag. Injuries to key players looked to destabilise the Tigers early in 2019, but they were perfectly healthy leading into September and took the genuine piss on the way to another flag. No-one wants another Richmond premiership. Somebody please put an end to this madness.


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 Sam Laffy

Thirty-something year-old Essendon supporter. Winning the flag in 2000 when I was 12 was supposed to kick off a dynasty I could boast about for years. Still waiting for that 17th flag.....


  1. Bachar Houli is one of my favourite players ever since his days at the Dons. I thought he was a bit stiff not to get the Norm Smith last year.

  2. Still amazes me he was at Essendon and didn’t get a regular gig – ah well, I suppose a change of scenery can do wonders for a player! Definitely thought he was up there in Norm Smith last year, but unfortunately everyone is Dusty crazy when is comes to giving out awards.

  3. Shane Johnson says

    Yep reckon Bachar nearly should have won two Normies but caught in the Dust storm.
    Clearly he hadn’t matured at Essendon…..just need time and some love

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