It’s a wonderful feeling to share a win with Demons fans

By Steve Healy

This was the most important game of the round.

Both teams had opened with three losses and not looked like winning. The best thing about the lead-up to this game was that the media were talking about how bad Richmond were. Terry Wallace was under extreme pressure after being talked down by all Richmond people. A win here for the Demons could just about lose Wallace his job. Turn the clock back to Round 12, 2007. This was when the Tigers beat the Dees to destroy Neale Daniher’s coaching career, and there was no reason the Melbourne Football Club couldn’t destroy Wallace’s.

I felt confident. Why shouldn’t I? This was our biggest chance. I had fearlessly tipped the Demons and I turned up for this Round 4 game with a spring in my step.

It was our third away game in a row, so that meant sitting top level Olympic Stand yet again. I took my seat, a row in front of where I’d sat two weeks previously against Collingwood (E1 as opposed to F1). On the screen was Melbourne v Richmond from Round 22 last year. Why not show a better game, like the one in 1998 where Melbourne beat Richmond when the Tigers were playing for the finals in front of a big crowd? But as soon as I saw the replay I was taken back to it because I had taken a mark in the crowd from a Brett Deledio goal in the last quarter (I didn’t see myself on the replay).

I turned my mind back on to this game. When Melbourne came out to warm up I noticed that Paul Johnson and Colin Sylvia both had freshly shaven heads. Why did this matter? Both players had played horrible games last week, and it added to the list of already shaven heads in Jones, Petterd, Warnock and Miller along with the balding heads of McLean and Newton (who I thought shouldn’t be in the team this week).

The umpire (Matthew James, I think) held the ball aloft and bounced it. That’s how a normal game would start, but not this one. A stupid free kick against Warnock, I think, gave the ball to Mitch Morton at the fifty. He kicked truly, and Melbourne had begun the game in the worst possible way. Richmond kicked another two behinds (one from Richo, of course) before Melbourne had their first shot on goal. Nathan “Nugget” Jones hit the post to put Melbourne on the board. Nathan Brown kicked a goal for the Tigers and the margin was thirteen points. We needed to reply. Brad Green kicked our first goal, from fifty.

Disaster then struck, for Green and all Melbourne people, when he came off never to be seen again. It was later revealed that he had broken his jaw and would be out for six to eight weeks.

Three more posters were kicked, one from Moloney, one from Jetta, and one from Michael “Juice” Newton before Miller kicked a well needed goal to give the Dees a three-point lead at the first break, 2.6 (18) to 2.3 (15).

It was apparent already that Richmond was terrible. They were turning the ball over, they were second to the ball, they couldn’t hit a target, and the Demons were capitalising on their mistakes. Jordan McMahon was being criticised all day by Richmond supporters behind me, and for a good reason, too.

The Melbourne hierarchy delivered in the second with some brilliant goals. Jetta: goal. Sylvia: goal. Miller: goal. Petterd: goal. Sylvia, who’d played a great game, delivered again.

It all happened so quickly. We were back in the glory days of 2006 and before (with some gaps in between).

The 34-point lead evaporated as Richmond strung a few together. Richo kicked one, and set up two for debutant Andrew Collins. The yellow and black filth squad, to the left of me, were all on their feet with their Richo banners and posters every time the No.12 did something worthwhile.

Goals from Dunn, Bate and Miller, who kicked his third just before the siren, and at half-time it was a 31-point lead to the red and blue.

Richmond pegged the margin back to 28 points at three-quarter-time. The Demons’ lead should be enough, I thought. I had no need to worry, as Richmond kicked themselves out of the game, courtesy of M. Richardson.

The Demons missed a couple of chances, too. Juice Newton was the main victim, but he did enough in the end.

Richmond had endless chances, and endless turnovers, and in the end lost by eight points. The Melbourne cheer squad to the right of me was in full voice. When the siren sounded we all erupted. We were home. Melbourne supporters walked past and talked to me like they had known me their whole life, talking about the win. It was a great feeling. All the Demons were together as one. Aaron Davey had yet again been best on ground. John Meesen had become a ruck revelation, and Paul Johnson had played a solid game.

As for the yellow and black squad to my left, they were sad and angry as they dragged their oversized floggers back to their cars. Richo, the Richmond cult figure, had not done enough for a Tigers win, having kicked 4.5.

What a win.

Richmond 2.3  5.6  9.7  13.14 (92)

Melbourne 2.6  10.7  13.11 14.16 (100)

Goals – Melbourne: Miller 3, Newton 2, Sylvia 2, Petterd 2, Bate, Dunn, Green, Davey, Jetta.

Richmond: Richardson 4, Brown 2, Collins 2, Morton, Moore, McGuane, Deledio, Nahas.

Best – Melbourne: Davey, McLean, Miller, Sylvia, Moloney, Jones, Jetta, Dunn, Petterd, Martin, Meesen, Newton, Rivers, Warnock, Johnson, Bruce, Frawley, Morton.

Richmond : Bowden, Foley, Richardson.

Umpires: James, Wenn, Findlay, McLaren (replaced Wenn during the game)

Crowd: 40,763 at the MCG.

Malarkey votes: Davey (M) 3, McLean (M) 2, Miller (M) 1.

About Steve Healy

Steve Healy is an entity of a Melbourne supporter.

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