Round 1 – Carlton v Richmond: The Hunt for Red October or The Story of How Mick has the Blues

Carlton v Richmond 




I need to put my hand up here. I am a Richmond supporter and I am not a fan of the “traditional” opener between Carlton and Richmond. Of course that’s based on Carlton’s dominance over the past ten or so years.

That’s why the butterflies in my stomach were on high alert around 7:15 on Thursday night.

The importance of  a Richmond win in this game had not been greater in the history of the kick off game seeing that they were hot favorites and were looking to erase the memories of a 3-10 start last year.

85,000 people had piled into the MCG to see whether the Tigers had the stuff to be a true top eight side and dispatch the Blues in the manner that everyone expected.

The game started with a huge bang with Tiger Brett Deledio being reported for a head-high bump on Simon White and Carlton’s Dale Thomas dislocating his shoulder (which will see him out for around 12 weeks) in the first five minutes of the game.

The Blues seemed to use this mayhem to get the jump on the Tigers and played some quick burst football through the usual outlets of Judd and Simpson and the goal-scoring of new recruit up forward Liam Jones taking marks and kicking goals. The Blues had a 27 point lead at the five minute mark of the second quarter but that is where it stopped for the Bluebaggers. The Tiges kicked the next seven goals and held Carlton goal-less from the five minute mark of the second quarter to the five minute mark of the fourth quarter.

The Tiges continued to get back on top by wining the centre clearances after being dominated for the first quarter. Ivan Maric won the majority of hit outs and the likes of new recruit Taylor Hunt, Anthony Miles, Shane Edwards pushing the ball forward to the waiting arms of Jack Reiwoldt, Ben Griffiths and Sam Lloyd. It was an emotional night for Jack who’s cousin Maddy (Nick’s sister) had passed away just a month ago and his performance was dedicated to her. The Tigers were all over the Blues and were playing the kind of attacking style football that pundits have tipped will be what is needed if Richmond’s goal of a top four birth is to be realized.

The Blues however are an anomaly. They have A grade players. They have a strong and passionate supporter base. So how have they gotten to this? Mick Malthouse’s post-match press conference may be a clue. He doesn’t seem happy Mick. Hes never been a joyous person publicly  but at the moment he just seems fed up. His decisions that he has signed off on in regards to the playing list the last few years seem hap hazard and at times bizarre. Dale Thomas is being paid too much money for a small forward who runs through the midfield (injury aside).  The pick up of Liam Jones again is not a good one, he was on a list for five years at the Bulldogs, played 64 games and kicked 68 goals as a full forward who didn’t exactly have any competition for that spot. If he kicks two goals a game thats 44 goals for the year and not a bad result. but that needs to be in partnership with another key forward, say…ummm Levi Casboult? Why did he not play last night , Mick says his form was poor in NAB Challenge and that you don’t get a game based on being Levi Casboult, but there were plenty of players out there for the Blues who didn’t play well during the mickey mouse comp. Lachie Henderson was playing forward last night as was doing ok and is a potential champion footballer but is switched forward and back more times than a man flicks through TV channels when his wife is away. There seemed to be absolutely no cohesion of any description as far as game-plans were concerned after the first quarter, if there was even a game plan being communicated from the coaches box.

The Blues are not as bad as this loss will suggest , and Mick will say that and did say that last night at the presser. However as far as I am concerned the players are not the problem. Being an AFL coach requires passion for more the money and the Carlton supporters deserve better this season and for the seasons to come.

In the end the Tigers should have won by more than they did and the score line flattered the Blues. There was the shining light of younger players Docherty and Menzel being in the best is some small comfort for Carlton supporters. The Tigers also had the pleasure of seeing Kamdyn McIntosh make his debit and what a debut he had with 23 possessions and a much needed goal in the first quarter.

This game is usually a good indicatator of where the rest of season lies for both teams, if this is the case this year then it will a good year to be a Tiger and a very bad one to be a Blue.

CARLTON      4.7   6.9    6.12   11.12   (78)
RICHMOND  2.3   7.10    9.13  15.15   (105)

Carlton: Jones 2, Menzel 2, Rowe 2, Bell, Gibbs, Jaksch, Simpson, Tuohy
Richmond: Riewoldt 4, Lloyd 3, Griffiths 3, Grigg 2, Gordon, Martin, McIntosh

Carlton: Docherty, Simpson, White, Menzel, Judd
Richmond: McIntosh, Hunt, Riewoldt, Rance, Ellis, Vlastuin

Carlton: Thomas (left shoulder), Yarran (right knee)
Richmond: Nil

Umpires: Umpires: Rosebury, Findlay, Ryan

Official crowd: 83,493 at the MCG

Our votes: K McIntosh 3 Votes (RICH) T Hunt 2 votes (RICH) J Riewoldt 1 vote (RICH)



Damian Gibson is one of the founding fathers of the AFL facebook community the Zanotti Files. He also is the host of Fifteen Minutes of Doom & FMOD podacsts A football (and Richmond) fanatic, he should not be approached while watching a game or playing Words with Friends on his phone.

Leave a Comment