Grand Final – Richmond v Geelong: Unprecedented


Tonight is the first AFL grand final that I’ve watched alone. I’ve been at the ground, at pubs, in loungerooms and in backyards. I’ve been with friends, family, footy fanatics and with those uninterested in footy. I’ve even popped into a hospital post-game to meet a newborn niece. This is yet another event that the word “unprecedented” can be put in front of.



The late start time means a full day of keeping busy to allay my nerves. I’m not feeling confident and all the talk on the radio is of the fairy tale ending for Gary Ablett and the premiership that Patrick Dangerfield (for some unknown reason) deserves. If I were thinking rationally, I’d back Richmond’s experience against the weight of Geelong’s expectations, but all this Geelong-talk is annoying me. The only mention Richmond seem to get is in trying to answer the question of how to stop Dusty.



After all that waiting, game time finally arrives. My hand-knitted scarf (which debuted in 2017 and is therefore the lucky scarf) is hanging in the front window, the TV vision is synchronised with internet radio commentary and I settle onto the couch with my phone nearby to text family and friends. The game begins tight and tense with neither team getting near scoring and then five minutes in, it stops because Nick Vlastuin has been knocked out by Dangerfield and Ablett has hurt his shoulder in a Trent Cotchin tackle. After a lengthy delay, the game re-starts and after a couple of behinds to the Cats, Dion Prestia kicks the first goal of the grand final and soon after, Kamdyn McIntosh, who wasn’t picked for last year’s premiership, kicks the second. This game was never going to be a complete domination like in 2019, and the Cats finish the quarter with goals to Cam Guthrie and Mitch Duncan.



The second quarter saw the Tigers struggle. The Cats dominated play and kicked three goals and three behinds while the Tigers made silly mistakes, especially in defence. The importance of Vlastuin to the Tigers is not well understood by opposing fans, but Tigers fans know how each piece of the defensive puzzle is needed. Perhaps the early injury at the hands of the thug Dangerfield would be the undoing of a magnificent Tigers plan for world domination.



Dusty’s goal towards the end of the second quarter stopped the Cats’ run of five unanswered goals and brought the score deficit back to 15 points. Dusty wasn’t just saving us from the indignity of a goalless quarter in a grand final; this was the beginning of the comeback. We just didn’t know that yet and half time was spent sombrely contemplating a Geelong victory via text message.



Jack Riewoldt’s goal early in the third quarter sparked hope, and a couple of minutes later Jason Castagna’s goal ignited that hope by bringing the Tigers to within three points of the Cats. A goal to the Cats was just a blip in proceedings. Handballs were connecting, kicks were finding targets and sneaky taps were going to advantage. Goals to Kane Lambert and Dusty gave the Tigers the lead. We’ve seen this before many times, even from Geelong. Opposition teams throw everything they have at the Tigers, the Tigers absorb the pressure and then step up a gear. Game on Cats!



At the beginning of the fourth quarter, any lingering doubts are quashed by goals to Prestia, Lynch and Dusty. The Tigers have kicked five unanswered goals and the 22-point lead seems unassailable. The game has another lengthy delay as Sam Simpson is stretchered from the ground and a goal to the Cats is met by a goal to Riewoldt, who brings the lead to 24 points – right on my pre-game prediction. My glory is spoiled by Dusty who kicks another to strengthen his claim to a third Norm Smith medal, although Jayden Short is a fitting runner up with his exceptional ability to get the ball forward.



The 2017 premiership was a dream come true; 2019 proved it wasn’t an accident. This one was, well, unprecedented.




RICHMOND        2.1       3.2       7.4            12.9     (81)
GEELONG           2.2       5.5       6.8            7.8       (50)


Richmond: Dusty 4, Prestia, Riewoldt 2, Castagna, Lambert, Lynch, McIntosh
Geelong: Menegola 2, Dangerfield, Duncan, Guthrie, Hawkins, Miers


Richmond: Dusty, Short, Edwards, Prestia, Cotchin, Bolton
Geelong: Duncan, Stewart, Selwood, Menegola, Dahlhaus




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About Gill

As a youngster, Gill thought that frequent Richmond premierships were assured, but in the many years since 1980 she realised her folly and distracted herself by crunching numbers at a university. The magnificence of the Tigers’ 2017 season has restored her faith in Richmond and all of humanity.


  1. Unprecedented is right
    surreal yet certain
    a champion team playing in a system that works plus the magnificence of Dusty ( given that this year he was no where near as dominant during the season ) perhaps he is human after all except on Grand Final day !!!

    Thinking of all of you down there in Victoria especially even without being able to have a gathering in your house for the big dance let alone go to the pub …
    we cheered at the ‘Gabba for all of our Tiger mates who couldn’t be there as loud as we could
    Go Tiges !!!!

  2. I love it when Castagna kicks goals…even if its only one. Always a good sign of a great day. or night.

    Dusty terrific.

    Great game, Both teams more than adequately matched. Tigers just happen to turn on all the right moves at the right time, again.

    Great write up.

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