AFL Round 1 – Gold Coast v Richmond: Suns bogey hits Tigers again!

Gold Coast Suns versus Richmond

6.40pm, Saturday 15 March

Metricon Stadium, Carrara, Queensland

 

Kent Winzer

 

The title ‘Bogey Team’ is one that is avoided with a passion by AFL coaches and players alike.  To suggest that something of this ilk really exists suggests either something supernatural in nature, or that the club on the receiving end of the losses has some intrinsic belief that they are unable to defeat a particular opposition.

 

Thousands of Richmond supporters arrived on the sunny Gold Coast for the opening round match against the Gold Coast Suns. This was the first time the Tigers had played at Carrara since 2009, when they hosted Adelaide and lost.  It was also their first match away against the Suns, after Richmond had hosted the first three encounters – two unsuccessfully – in Cairns.

 

Walking around in Surfers Paradise on a sunny 29 degree day, hopes were high amongst Richmond fans. Cavill Avenue had become a yellow-and-black parade, as many Tiger jumpers, scarves, and even board shorts had been dusted off for the new year.

 

After a long wait for a shuttle bus, followed by a long trip out to Carrara, we arrived at Metricon Stadium just in time for the start of play… only to find out play had been delayed for 20 minutes due to a thunderstorm in, of all places, western Sydney. Amongst the crowd, there was a lot of yellow and black for an interstate venture. Some figures suggest it was a 40-60 split.

 

The Tigers started well, kicking the opening goal of the match.  But for the remainder of the quarter, they needed to hang on to a clean, slick, and pacy Suns outfit. Gary Ablett started showing his classic skill and class, and the Tigers looked to be in trouble.  The Suns were looking sharp, but allowed Richmond to stay in the contest, and the lead was only 15 points at the first change.

 

After a rev-up from coach Damien Hardwick, the Tigers came out a lot stronger in the second term, kicking 2.5 to 1.1.  This inaccuracy would prove to be harmful later in the evening, as the Richmond seemed to have the run of play and took control of the contest. The match was quite even, with the same number of scoring shots.

 

The third term could have seen the Suns break the match wide open, if not for an impersonation of the yips seen by Richmond in the previous term. Winning the term 1.8 to 1.1, the Suns were leading by two goals at the final change.

 

The already-warm match truly heated up in the final term, and it was Richmond who came out firing first. After kicking the first goal in a matter of minutes, a clever snap from Dustin Martin put the Tigers in front for the first time since early in the game.  The way Richmond had come out suddenly, this match again had an opportunity to be torn wide-open, this time the away side with the opportunity. One misguided Richmond fan suggested that Ablett was “nothing, and never going to be anything,” much to the chagrin of those around him.

 

The Suns, in response to losing their gutsy, well-held lead, were then the team to fire up.  They kicked the next four goals of the match to put it beyond doubt.  The Tigers claimed a few consolation goals late in the match before the Suns kicked one more to ice the match fully, and run out 18 point winners, and ensure the shuttle buses were full of the yellow and black throng well before the final siren had sounded.  The following morning at Gold Coast Airport I saw a lot of yellow and black again, but this time in a much more sheepish manner!

 

The Gold Coast Suns now have a 75% winning record against Richmond, which is clearly their strongest against any other existing club in the AFL, only equalled by their record against Greater Western Sydney.

 

The Tigers must do two things from here. Firstly, they need to turn around their season already, and make sure that winnable matches do not go by the wayside in such a manner.  And secondly, establish why they struggle so much against the Gold Coast Suns. Is it a matter of how the teams match up, or are the Suns really Richmond’s ‘Bogey Team’?

 

 

Gold Coast Suns   5.4           6.5           7.13         12.15 (87)

Richmond              3.1           5.6           6.7           10.9 (69)

 

Goals  Gold Coast Suns: Day 2, Stanley 2, Ablett 2, Lynch 2, Prestia, O’Meara, Matera, Swallow

Richmond: Vickery 2, Vlastuin, Petterd, Riewoldt, Cotchin, Griffiths, Edwards, Martin, Deledio

 

Best     Gold Coast: Ablett, Prestia, Rischitelli, Swallow, Cameron, Lynch, Stanley

Richmond: Cotchin, Deledio, Thomas, Martin, Conca

 

Umpires           Chamberlain, Meredith, Ryan.  

Crowd 19,425

our votes       Ablett (GCS) 3, Cotchin (Rich) 2, Prestia (GCS) 1.

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