Heave Ho – lid’s back on

Richmond are improving, and possibly can still be finalists, but as far as getting ahead of yourself goes, this Richmond week rivals the 2012 Carlton Premiership. Has there  ever been a game where the arriving crowd was so sure they were going to win! There was no tension amongst the Tiger horde

s – they were already celebrating. After all the media had been talking up the win  all week. By Friday I don’t think there was a player or staffer at Punt road that hadn’t been the subject of a feature. All football geniuses apparently.

And how hopeless are the opposition, can’t play in the wet, or the dry – Freo, GWS and we are 7 and 5 at the bye. Man we are good. Heard all of that on the way in. Thing is both sides were 5 wins 5 losses, Freo staged a major turnaround against Adelaide the week before without winning, yet were at longer odds than Port Adelaide against Hawthorn. My punting Pie-loving pal piled on at 5:1 after confirming with me that there had been no Anthrax outbreak in South Terrace.

And what about that football media. What an erudite and accountable group they are. I mean that joke of a coach Ross Lyon whose team plays unwatchable football (which looks much like any other team’s football, except his teams win more often) – what was Fremantle thinking? Apart from, that is, that amongst past or present AFL coaches  with more than 100 games to their credit, the poor loser  happens to have the greatest win loss ratio of any. Better than Guru Mick, better than legend Kevin, and as for Mark Maclure, his playing career gets more relevant with each week that passes don’t you think – he is just so insightful. I think he has moved on though – he seems to have found a new and possibly softer target in Guy McKenna, which from the ranting on the almost unlistenable ABC radio coverage of the Suns-Saints game, I think they were  saying the Suns should play a game plan more like the sort Lyon coaches, but I digress.
You do have to feel sorry for those media guys. When Pav kicked his sixth goal 5 minutes in to the last quarter you could hear the sound of delete buttons being hit on editing desks across the football media world. Suddenly there was a huge gap in the Sunday sport section. The Age and their ilk scrambled to bury the game, after all if you are completely wrong, pretending something never happened is the best thing to do isn’t it?
So here’s the thing  –
  • If Maric has been a sensation and he is toweled up by J Griffen, he must have been appalling. Griffen could not be brilliant.
  • If Deledio is in Brownlow form and he can’t get a kick, that doesn’t mean Crowley is as good as Cam Ling. Deledio played badly – had a down week.
  • If the coach decides it’s more important to shut Deledio down than Cotchin, and that works, you don’t have to take back the fact that you have said on air that that it is a big mistake.
  • Alex Rance beating Matthew Pavlich – apparently that not happening is a surprise and therefore Rance is a hoax.
  • If you have got a young midfielder you have never heard of carving up your team best ignore it, and let Brownlow night be the first time anyone says his name.
  • And most important of all for the Richmond football department – if you get a coaching lesson, best not to acknowledge that and instead blame your team for ‘being terrible’.

Having said that, The Age match report was a good one. And The Age didn’t completely bury the game, they did what they normally do when Freo wins – they instruct the match review panel to suspend Hayden Ballentyne.

Luka and I enjoyed singing Heave Ho at the tops of our voices,  we marched out of the ground scarves flying, still singing, to a few begrudging back slaps from the Tiger army. I like our chances of winning the flag more than I like Richmond’s, and I might also add that the last time Fremantle had a coach who didn’t get out coached just about every time we played in Melbourne, he was a Western Australian.


  1. Neil, brilliant. And so gracious of you to help those Tigers fans put the lid back on.
    We had dinner last night with a couple of Freo supporters who made the trek to the G and they were in similarly good spirits.
    Congrats – and stick by that coach. Despite all the revisionist hoo-ha from the Saints supporters at the moment, something tells me he knows what he’s doing.

  2. Ken Richards says

    Enjoy the success while it lasts Neil, it’ll all end in tears. Lyon coaches a game style that is fine (except for those who have to watch it) when his teams are fit and running, but wears out their bodies over the long season. The style is not likely to meet with September success. It will not be possible to defend ones way to a Premiership.
    Exhibit one: the Saints near stumble to Footscray before succumbing to the Cats in 2009.
    Exhibit two: the capitulation to the Pies in the 2010 Replay, when Goddard’s individual brilliance just wasn’t enough the first time around.
    The exception to the rule of course occurs if ones opponent is even less of an innovator and risk taker than the clod your team has saddled itself with. I’m looking at you Roos and Worsfold and your two nil-all draws, all delivered to us from 2005 to 2006 courtesy of the travesty of Interstate Preliminary Finals.
    Thankfully the Cats buried tempo football in 2007, the Hawks have Buddy & Cyril to keep us interested, and the Buckley inspired Pies of 2010 to 2011 have eliminated enough of the Malthouse negativity to make them a great spectacle too. I hope fervently that the Tigers style prevails over the abomination played by Lyon coached sides.
    So no glory for you Dockers until you return from the dark side.

  3. Neil Belford says

    The seasons are longer when you play into Grand Final week Ken, that is true.

  4. Good point Ken. I don’t think we should play any games interstate.

  5. Great stuff Neil! Don’t think I’ve seen Ballentyne play a match where he shouldn’t have been reported but at least The Age writes up the Freo games, I’m pretty sure The West thinks there’s only four teams in the competition: West Coast, Freo, and whoever they are playing that week.

  6. For my sins, I have seen all of the last 3 Dockers games. Once as a fanatical Eagle; one as a passionate Crow and the other as a couldn’t care less. Trying to draw dispassionate lessons:
    – Crowley is having a belter year. I am yet to see him lower his colours. Should be All Australian, assuming it is a side that plays another team that has good players to be nullified. And he does hurt you on the rebound more often than you think.
    – De Boer and Priddis are blood brothers. Gutsy inside players who can’t kick.
    – The Dockers are certainly playing for Lyon. They were gutsy for a half against us, but Lyon got the balance seriously wrong in the second half when he put everyone behind the ball. The balance was right against the Crows. They looked winners, but lack the physical capacity to play 4 quarters of that intense strangling style. Richmond played dumb footy in the wet, and the Dockers worked hard enough to beat them led by an ageing but still clever Pavlich (Chappy and Scarlo without the compensating silverware). McPharlin ditto.
    – The Dockers can stop most sides, but they struggle to beat the top sides who can eventually run over them on a dry day. Strangling requires more endurance and persistence than the Dockers can physically offer.
    – Why is Ballantyne so dumb? He is as good a small forward as any in the comp.
    – Don’t think losing Sandiland will hurt them. Griffin is a better round ground player, and the Dockers gain little from Sandilands’ taps.
    – A fit Fyfe and one more key forward and the Dockers are as good as most teams. They will win a lot of ugly games in 2013 with a year’s grounding in Rossball – and an even run with injuries.

  7. Great article Neil couldn’t agree more. I’m very used to the old conceit that Freo only won because played liked dills as, with all due respect to Peter_B, I think I probably heard after every derby win. That or the umpiring.

    I’d also like Luke McPharlin to get some long overdue love. That’s two goals conceded playing on Buddy, Tippett and Riewoldt, yet he wasn’t mentioned once in pundits AA selections from last week.

  8. And Ken, honestly. Lyon is a lucky toe poke, a dodgy goal umpiring decision and an unfortunate bounce from being a dual premiership coach. As for the rest of the post, I’m just sorry we’re in the comp, would you like us to go?

  9. Tony Bull says

    I think the downside to the Lyon gameplan (other than the appaling spectactle) is that you can dominate for a period and not get the score up on the board. So many saints matches where they dominated for the majority of the match to eke out a lead of a few goals to be blown away in a short period when the opposition get free of the shackles.Lyon had a pretty good team and they came as close as you can get, but the ultimate goal eluded them for several reasons, one being the coaching style. That was probably the main difference between the cats and saints in that period 2007-2011.

  10. Ken Richards says

    Oh Jonathan, you have so hit the nail on the head, Just ‘a lucky toe poke, a dodgy goal umpiring decision and an unfortunate bounce from being a dual premiership coach’. A lucky escape I say. (Saints fans may disagree). And if it had happened? Perhaps everyone would be trying their various versions of Rossball. And we’d have to watch it (or not).

    Lyon is no doubt a capable coach. His results speak for it. But I don’t have to like the style he coaches, and the fact that it detracts from the game as a spectacle for anyone who is not a supporter of the participant teams (and even that is not a guarantee, I nearly fell asleep during the round one 2011 snoozefest v the Saints until Jimmy screwed on back to wake me up)

    And Les, both Preliminary finals should be at the G. Too important to be played in front of 50,000 at the SCG, Subiaco, the Gabba, Gold Coast or Kardinia Park.

    So I guess you can stay Jonathan. Two years of just falling short and having to watch that game style week on week should be penance enough

  11. Ken, I’m not lauding Lyon’s game style, I’m simply suggesting your assertion in regards to his game style not being successful in September is far too simplistic and that barring some misfortune it would have been. Freo last Saturday played like every other winning team in wet conditions and Richmond didn’t.

    And in regards to prelims at the G, sorry it’s no longer the Victorian football league. Not to mention the fact that if Freo actually managed to make a Grand Final and were unfortunate enough to draw it, they’d be forced to throw their entire match routine in the bin so we can maintain a quaint tradition. Screw fairness of course. Not to mention that they would never countenance a PF at Kardinia Park

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