NAB Cup – Richmond v Melbourne: When it doesn’t matter

Of course, it’s pre-season, so I don’t care.

I might as well switch it on, though. Seeing as I’m paying for Foxtel. Just to have a look.

And it’s not looking good. What’s with this Melbourne crew? Better anticipating the flow of the game than the Tiges? How is that possible? It’s only been three months of Roos, even he can’t be that much of a miracle worker. It must just be the enigma that is pre-season form.

That’s it, 9 minutes in and time for the mute button. When O when will the universe see the light and eliminate Dermott Brereton from public life? Although, to be fair, the commentators did inform me that one of the Melbourne players has been an actor on Neighbours, so they’re not entirely useless.

We’re being saved by Melbourne’s inaccuracy in front of goal, and a sudden burst at the other end from the Tiges. Good kicking from the boys both young and old. Not that I approve of the concept of supergoals. Pre-season nonsense.

But wait – what is with Deledio’s hideous beard? I hate the affectations that sneak in over the break and are revealed in all their dubious glory in the NAB cup.

Still, it’s only pre-season, so I needn’t care. I have plenty of time to contemplate my disdain over the first break. Melbourne are controlling the play better. Melbourne have had more scoring shots. Lucky it doesn’t mean anything, eh?

Back on, and Ty Vickery is evidently sharing my frustration. He decides to win it off his own boot, and kicks two quick goals. Melbourne notice, and refuse to let the ball anywhere near him again. Spoilsports.

Melbourne are dominating play again. Not a lot of joy for the Tiger watcher. The Tigers start to pull it together in the second half of the quarter, and my tepid interest is fired up again. Go, youngster I don’t recognise off the rookie list! Go, ancient Newy! Beat four defenders, Vickery!! (He doesn’t.) They finish with honours even. That’ll do.

Third quarter, and now it’s the Tigers who can’t kick straight, although somehow they’re managing to maintain a slender lead. And Newman’s limping off with a leg injury. They’re taking him out the back. At his age, I’m worried it’s to have him shot, but am reassured by footage of him walking round the changerooms (although it’s possibly stock footage). To add insult to this injury, Melbourne kick a goal practically on the siren, and go into the final break ahead.

The Tigers celebrate the start of the final quarter by giving away a gimme goal through an interchange infringement. I tell myself it’s good for them to get the stupid mistakes out of their system while it doesn’t matter. I’m quite proud of myself for still remembering it doesn’t matter, in the face of such provocation. To console me, Terrible Facial Hair kicks a lovely snap goal.

Melbourne defence are persistent and ant-like in their constant overrun of the forward line. But somehow Batchelor kicks his first ever goal to put the Tigers in front. Not that I care. Which is fortunate, because Melbourne promptly take the lead back.  And keep it. A last-minute desperate Tiger attempt to recover from three points down is foiled by a bizarre divot-gouging mis-kick, Melbourne punishes with a grandstanding running goal, and it’s all over with a minute left on the clock. Or is it? No, Melbourne are going to pile on another unnecessary goal! Goddamnit! 14 points down, and I care.

It matters. It may be only pre-season, but every loss hurts. Welcome back, Tiger pain.


  1. And we thought last year’s Elimination Final loss to Caaarlton was the loss we had to have Mandy.

    At least they can’t say The Tiges aren’t consistent.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Pre Season games dont count it actually might help and slow down some of this Richmond nonsense no where near a , premiership contender yet and personally I like Dermie extremely footy smart

  3. The Tiges thrashed Geelong in a pre season game in 2011. Didn’t amount to much.

  4. Simon Willcox says

    I enjoyed your ambivalence about watching the warm up comp. Mandy
    Such a long wait in the off season
    Now it starts and we have to pay to watch it
    Have a soft spot for the Tiges but its good to see the D’s were competitive
    Every loss does hurt but a good start to the season proper will fix that
    Agree with Malcolm, Dermie does have some insights
    At least it wasn’t BT
    Whats wrong is making the first hit out a showdown on Sunday arvo
    Theres another one in a few weeks to open the home and away season
    Too much of a good thing?

  5. Lovely piece Mandy. As intelligent footy fans, our head tells us that pre-season losses don’t matter. As passionate Tigers/Eagles/Cats/etc etc our heart hurts every time the jumper is humbled. Its a pavlov’s dog automatic response by the time you are 15.
    Gotta love it. Summer sports just don’t have the tribal/primal appeal of footy.
    Eat ’em alive Eags.

  6. Mandy
    Of course a decent win in Round 1 will render last night’s result absolutely irrelevant. Clearly the Tigers weren’t anywhere near 100% in attitude or personnel. To be within 2 points with 2 minutes to go and having had 180 less touches probably says a lot about the gap in class but also the relative intensity each side brought to the contest. However good teams win even these scrappy unimportant games. The manner in which Richmond allowed Melbourne to control the game and eventually believe they could win it is a real danger sign in my view. Richmond’s only chance to improve this season is through incremental improvement by each and every player on the list. There will be no silver bullets. Last night’s showing doesn’t inspire confidence that this is occurring.

  7. mandyjohnson says

    Commentators certainly are a personal preference. But it is possible we all agree about BT, Simon.

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