Grand Final – Richmond v Geelong: Disappointed but not shattered

 

The worst part about the 2020 Covid footy season was not being able to go to the footy with my two great Cats mates, Scott and Shaun or with my son Zach who now lives in northern NSW. Our fallback position this year is constant texting and FaceTime banter throughout the game, sharing thoughts, feelings, tactics and reactions. It makes for great reading as we have experienced the highs and lows of a strange season. Scotty fires broadsides at players who annoy him (a certain redhead in particular) while Shaun is more analytical, always asking at the end of a game who gets the votes? Zach is passionate and nervy, much like his father, although I’m better than I used to be – funny how 07, 09 & 11 can change a man. Zach asked on WhatsApp this morning “How you doing, Pop? Love you”, no doubt concerned for my emotional state after the Grand Final. In a reply addressed to him and my mates this pretty well sums up how I saw the game, and how I feel about it and the season overall. I watched the game with my sister Vicki in Casterton, a fellow Cats tragic.

 

Just got “home” to Horsham to find a series of heart-broken and demoralised SMS’ from the boys.

 

Sorry you’re so down Shaun and Scott, I love you boys. I wrote the following to Zach who asked how I’m going. Sums it up pretty well from my perspective.

 

“I’m good mate. Disappointed obviously but not shattered. The hardest part is the contrast between the first and second halves. We were all over them and they were making mistakes repeatedly because of our pressure. After half time it completely reversed and they converted all their chances. I was still optimistic at 3/4 time but they overwhelmed us again. Martin is phenomenal, peerless in Grand Finals. Kolo tried but no one has found a way to stop him in big games. Rohan was poor so naturally Darlow is down on him big time but Blicavs was very poor too, and even the players who were prominent in the first half faded away after half time. Danger was only average. Gaz played hurt, he was brave but ineffective. Hawk was well held. Tom Stewart was our best. Guthrie and Joel also good. Stanley dropped an easy mark and Martin intercepted a handball and snapped a brilliant goal from the pocket, that’s what he does. Menegola was good and the last goal was well taken considering the circumstances. Poor Sam Simpson was hammered three ways in that one contest. They lost Vlastuin which may have helped us if Jr hadn’t got hurt at the same time. Lynch and Riewoldt both got into it after half time once Richmond got on top in the clearances. We then stopped moving the ball quickly, allowing them time to get back and block off our forward 50 entries. They are a hard, well-drilled, experienced finals and Grand Final team and that showed after half time. The echoes of last year’s Prelim Final are impossible to ignore. They are never beaten if they’re behind. Geelong were brave and tried hard but were beaten by the better team. It’s been a tough season and I’m proud of what they achieved, making a GF after so many disappointments is a big step forward. I’m disappointed but not heart-broken. Maybe I’m becoming more mellow and philosophical as I age? It’s an opportunity lost on many levels but credit to Richmond, they wanted it more in the end, their skill and tactics prevailed, and they have the benefit of the greatest Grand Final player in history who is able to pull the trigger seemingly when ever he feels like it. By comparison, our gun, Danger, never really impacted the game after that one good goal in the 2nd qtr. I’m sure he’ll be shattered. I love you too”.

 

I know the question will be why no hard tag on Martin, but I honestly don’t think anyone can truly stop him – he has proven himself to be the best big game player in the AFL and is peerless in Grand Finals – the evidence is impossible to ignore. He doesn’t rack up possessions like Gaz used to; he just appears, pulls off a magic trick, then goes back into normal mode, waiting for the next opportunity to pull out a freak effort or miracle goal. I suspect we wouldn’t resent him so much if he wasn’t covered in tatts and have such a dickish haircut. I’d have loved nothing more than to be celebrating our 10th flag today, but in the end, I accept they were the better team, again, you can’t argue with the facts. 3 in 4 years is a phenomenal achievement, all the more so in this year of Covid.

 

Geelong did brilliantly this season, I’d much rather have lost the GF to a great team than lose yet another prelim final. At least this time we had a chance. It was sad at the end but also very fitting to see Jr acknowledged by both teams and the whole crowd. Again, Joel and Scotty carried themselves with respect and dignity. We won’t have lost any friends or admirers despite the loss. Go Cats. PS. Thanks for the memories Gaz.

 

 

RICHMOND     2.1     3.2     7.4     12.9     (81)

GEELONG        2.2     5.5     6.8     7.8     (50)

 

GOALS

Richmond: Martin 4, Prestia 2, Riewoldt 2, Castagna, Lambert, Lynch, McIntosh

Geelong: Menegola 2, Dangerfield, Duncan, Guthrie, Hawkins, Miers

 

BEST

Richmond: Martin, Short, Edwards, Prestia, Cotchin, Bolton

Geelong: Duncan, Stewart, Selwood, Menegola, Dahlhaus

 

 

The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features- a game by game account of the Tigers season – and it will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE

 

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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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