Friday night footy provides the only moment of normality in sad Numurkah


School holidays are meant to be fun. It gives us a break from the tedious and strenuous amount of work, a chance to sleep-in, a chance to hang with your mates and catch up on a lot of sillyness. Sadly, a group of Numurkah boys took that a bit too seriously last Saturday night. This week has been the toughest week, I’d never experienced such a sudden shock like this, it was amazing to see friends lending a shoulder to cry on to people they hardly knew. It’ll never be the same in the schoolyard without Justin, a year 12 student who was tragically killed in a car accident at 10:00pm on April 9. His friends had been drinking, including the driver. They walked away without a scratch. Our little community has come closer with this loss, it still doesn’t seem real to me however. Even after attending school on Monday (yes, attending school during the holidays) to confront the pain and tears of our closest friends, it still seems a bit artificial. I wasn’t friends with Justin, we weren’t enemies. I knew who he was and he knew who I was, but we never talked. But, I’ll miss him.

The week dragged on and on. It seemed like Numurkah was stuck in a rut while the rest of the world moved on around it. That’s how it felt for me anyway. Finally Friday came by, and the enthusiasm of a bright sunny day outside seemed to be my undoing as I awoke. After a fairly brutal night of footy training, which included a staggering 140+ sit-ups, every muscle in my body ached, especially my abdomen area, which hurt quite a bit when I tried to spring up after waking up. I hit the pillow with my head with a whack as I fell back down, and I thought I should just stay in bed. Mum told me to go get the mail though, which isn’t as easy as it sounds when you’ve got a 400m driveway.

I was craving some footy action, the Tigers and Magpies looked like quite a tantalising match-up, seeing the competition’s best running on all cylinders against a young, improving side (since when have Richmond not had the ‘improving’ tag associated with them?). Collingwood were tipped by many to run out comfortable winners, and they looked like a champion team in the opening quarter, with Dale Thomas taking advantage of a lazy Dustin Martin to bang through the first goal of the game. Martin, on the mark, turned his back and walked away, deeming Thomas to be too far away to have a shot, but when he turned around he saw Daisy running forward and booting long for a major. It was back in the forward line from the middle, with Travis Cloke taking a strong mark and splitting the middle from 50m out. Cloke’s finally found his kicking boots. Will Thursfield was tossed aside like a ragdoll as Chris Dawes marked strongly and kicked his first, before Ben Johnson made it four-zip when he goaled from long range. Richmond’s daring kick-ins right up the guts were laughable, but they worked on a couple of occasions. One of those times, it ended in the hands of Jack Riewoldt, who took a ripper of a mark contested with Chris Tarrant. He booted the goal, but Dane Swan had an immediate reply to that, before hobbling off the field with a knock to the leg. Riewoldt kicked his second, but the Pies breezed past in the final few minutes, with Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom and Jarryd Blair all booting majors to give the Magpies a massive lead of 40 points in a quarter of pure domination.

Swan’s leg seemed fine, but he didn’t need much strength in it to pop through his second from 10m out directly in front, but some daring play from the Tigers resulted in the much-improved Tyrone Vickery shimmy past Leon Davis with ease before kicking the goal. Davis looked like he’d found the shorts that David Hale had discarded on the ground last weekend, with the addition of the white-looking Skins, it seemed he was wearing large basketball shorts. Swan gracefully collected the greasy football off the ground before slotting his third, and while he was picking the grass from the tips of his fingernails, Cam Wood marked and split the middle. Wood is an interesting player. Not good enough to string together multiple games for the Magpies, but would be a good ruckman for a side such as Geelong or even Greater Western Sydney. Richmond were starting to get some luck on their side, especially when Brad Miller, Melbourne discard playing his first game in the yellow and black, blocked the path of Harry O’Brien, allowing Martin to gather and put it on the boot. The ball went straight between Harry’s legs, tumbling on and on for a goal, and as quick as anything, Matt White had snapped a superb goal from near the boundary line. The Pies hit back equally quickly, with Dayne Beams marking uncontested from a quick clearance and scoring, before Blair showed more than his stature leads you to believe, fending off Shane Edwards with one hand while springing forward to handball to Cloke in the goalsquare for another major, the Pies out to a 50 point lead at half time.

The Pies looked absolutely stunning, like nothing could beat them. Richmond found that all-important chink in the armour however. Jake King, one of the Tigers’ most important players these days, marked and converted from 45m out, before some excellent link-up play through the midfield gifted Miller with his first goal for Richmond. Trent Cotchin, playing the best game of his short career, bombed the ball in long from the next centre bounce, where Martin cleverly trapped the ball with one hand as opponents ran past him, and he deftly put it on his boot as the Tigers were suddenly back within 34 points. The match ebbed and flowed, Collingwood looked dangerous everytime they got the ball, but Richmond were winning the one-on-ones. White booted a terrific goal from some great forward pressure by his teammates, but an outstanding run from half-back to the forward line by Dale Thomas saw Sidebottom gifted with an easy goal. Brett Deledio hit back with a massive bomb from 55m out on the run, Leigh Brown went forward to take a crucial mark in the goalsquare, extending the lead back out again, before Riewoldt bobbed up in the path of an excellent Chris Newman kick to mark and kick a very important goal at the death of the three quarter time siren. The game had been flipped on its head in the matter of 30 minutes. This young Richmond side will be something one day.

One quarter of brilliant football isn’t enough against the mighty Magpies though. Dylan Grimes hit an imaginary brick wall as he hit the deck, leaving Cloke to mark and handball to Swan, allowing the maestro his fourth goal. Thomas snapped his second to put the game beyond doubt, but Collingwood weren’t finished, the chant was just getting started. Cloke booted his third, before majors to Dawes and Wellingham, who is arguably the Magpies’ toughest player, saw the lead out to beyond 10 goals. Alan Toovey, wearing the green vest for the whole night, finally burst into life as he was thrust into the backline that wasn’t doing a hell of a lot of defending. It must be so tough getting yourself mentally geared up for a game, only to be told you are to be a substitute, then sitting on the bench for three quarters watching your teammates go to war. Although it didn’t same to bother Toovey much, by the looks of him, nothing bothers him, he just stares into space. Sidebottom was on the end of a very unselfish handball from Blair, but a goal against the flow to Angus Graham from a free kick against Dawes, playing in defence, saw the margin at 59 points. Luke Ball hit the scorers list with a goal from 40m off one-step, a good feat for him, then a goal of the night contender to Beams from 55m on the run had the Magpie Army in hysterics. Alan Didak topped it off with a clever one-two with Beams, finishing with a classic goal from 40m. A late mark and goal to Riewoldt after the siren was the only lapse in concentration for the Pies in the final minutes, with a 71 point victory over their arch-rival a fitting result.

But those Tigers, they are improving. Give them two years, and they’ll be pushing the top four. Vickery is moulding into a very handy player, Martin and Cotchin are forming a very formidable one-two midfield punch, and if Jack can keep his cool up forward, Richmond will have no excuse for not making the finals.


Richmond 2.2—5.7—11.10—13.12.90

Collingwood 8.6—13.9—15.12—24.17.161


Richmond-Riewoldt 4, White 2, Martin 2, Vickery, Deledio, Miller, Graham, King

Collingwood-Swan 4, Cloke 3, Sidebottom 3, Beams 2, Thomas 2, Dawes 2, Johnson, Blair, Pendlebury, Wood, Brown, Wellingham, Ball, Didak


Richmond-Cotchin, White, Deledio, Conca, Jackson, Grigg, Martin

Collingwood-Swan, Thomas, Sidebottom, Pendlebury, Cloke, Blair, Maxwell, Ball, Beams


58,050 at the MCG


3: Dane Swan (COLL)

2: Dale Thomas (COLL)

1: Trent Cotchin (R)

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Steve Healy says

    Very sad about the boy who died.

    I think the Tigers are sort of improving, but I think they should make some changes as there are some players who are simply just out of it but Cotchin, Deledio, Newman and now Martin are in great form.

    And you did the same votes as me!

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