AFL Round 7 – Geelong v Richmond: Nausea at the G

“So, Jimmy, the Richmond fans are dying to know – what’s your assessment of the Tigers after that performance today? How close are they?”

Poor Jimmy Bartel. The consummate phlegmatic Aussie bloke has been cornered by the irrepressibly enthusiastic Dermie and Ed on their eponymous new program. They’re all over him like a couple of big galumphing adoring dogs. He doesn’t look comfortable.

And then they ask him – in all seriousness – to rate the Tigers!

Jimmy looks like he’s been ambushed into giving Ted Bundy a reference for good character. AFL Media Training 101 kicks in and he manages to give a suitably anodyne response.

“They’ve got a promising young list, they just need to learn from tough defeats like this.” All the usual platitudes.

But it sounds as convincing as if he’d said “Um, yeah, nah, look he’s committed a couple of dozen gruesome murders over the journey but, if he can take some lessons from his mistakes he’s not far off becoming a model citizen”.

I shunned the cold, wet conditions and the long trip from Drouin to Melbourne. I watched the game from a living room warmed by winter’s first batch of local firewood, delivered and stacked the day before.

To my surprise, the Tigers turned up. I didn’t. I’m therefore in no position of strength in passing harsh judgment on this performance.

However, for those familiar with Terry Wallace’s famous tirade in “Year of the Dogs”, this surely needs to rank as Richmond’s “I will spew” moment.

Why should we be satisfied with going down narrowly and gallantly, even if it was against the mighty Geelong in a game that, on paper and from the evidence of the first 40 minutes looked like being a train wreck?

Should we be encouraged that we reeled in a six goal deficit to end just five points adrift of the Cats, Sam Lloyd’s goal on the siren an emphatic reminder that the Tigers had pushed hard to the very end?

Or are these warm fuzzy feelings simply mutant manifestations of relief that we weren’t again pummelled by this mob?

The risk with an unexpectedly gritty performance like this is that the same “brave effort” words that so repulsed Wallace following that narrow loss by the Dogs will be used to gloss over our mistakes, rudimentary and entrenched, that ensured we were never going to win this game.

The premise of such words is that the “real Richmond” emerged today and showed that they can match it with the competition’s best and that we should therefore forgive the slipshod antics of our season to date.

Even if we accept that (risking all manner of ex falso quod libet possibilities), why should we overlook nearly half a game of sloppy, tentative over-possession and sideways movement that rendered our forward line impotent? How can seasoned AFL footballers judge wet conditions so poorly?

Why should we roar triumphantly at his perfectly executed left foot snap from the boundary line when Jack Riewoldt can’t even score from regulation set shots?

Why should we believe that Reece Conca’s outstanding game is anything other than the one good game in seven that he’ll produce in order to hold his place?

Why should we accept counter-punch Geelong goals just seconds before half time and at other pivotal points during our ascendancy when they’re brought about by nothing more than the lack of poise that thirty years of being a loser perfects?

Why should we accept such glaring naivete that not one Richmond player alerted the umpire to a bleeding gash on Joel Selwood’s forehead seconds before he drills a team-lifting last quarter goal? How could we allow him to be out there at that instant? He may be football royalty but the same rules apply to him. Maybe we thought the only risk from exposure to Selwood’s claret is that we may contract some “footy smarts”?

Ultimately these questions won’t be answered until we play our next few matches. The AFL has given Richmond every opportunity to bounce back from this horrendous start to the season. There are no games from hereon that we can’t win.

But if I’m to predict the script based on my long-term familiarity with previous ones, I’d suggest it’ll go something like this.

We have a poorly timed week off that we enter feeling pretty good about ourselves. We come back against Melbourne, an inferior team but one that’s being gradually conditioned in the Paul Roos school of “take no prisoners” footy, and we turn up expecting an easy day. Fatal. Road trip to GWS follows. You can work it out from there…

If that scenario plays out, then I really will spew.

My votes:  Johnson 3, Taylor 2, Jackson 1

About Sam Steele

50 years a Richmond supporter. Enjoying a bounteous time after 37 years of drought. Should've been a farmer!


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Stainless good report and totally agree re the question to Jimmy just stupid . I felt this was a case of the superior team just doing enough to get the result and in reality the margin flattered the tigers

Leave a Comment